It's My Party

Director: Randal Kleiser
Screenwriters: Randal Kleiser

Institute History

  • 1996 Sundance Film Festival


Nick is dying. He looks healthy, he is a successful architect with many loyal friends, but he has AIDS. His long battle is just about over, for in a few days, he won’t be able to remember his own name and then . . . he will die. There is not a single person who has not been affected in some way by this epidemic’s undiscriminating twenty-plus-year presence on this planet, but it is Nick’s unconventional approach to his problem that is the essence of this film. He decides to end his life as he lived it, filled with vitality and joy, surrounded by those who love him. What else but a party. Two days worth of food and drink. The proverbial “go out with a bang.”

With this as the background, it is amazing that Randal Kleiser has been able to construct an uplifting and inspiring film that focuses on the celebration of life rather than the tragedy of death. The plot is skillfully constructed, and each character of friend or family reflects a gamut of emotions from frustration to anger to sorrow, mixed with strength and humor and plenty of bewildering confusion. Kleiser has assembled a remarkable cast, an array of well-known faces, even in bit parts. The driving force of the film is two refreshingly straight-forward performances by Eric Roberts as Nick and Gregory Harrison as his estranged lover. At no time do they ever lose their dignity or become cloying or apologetic. There is an undeniable sense that this cast is drawing from its own experiences as much as from the script. In fact the whole production seems like a labor of love, a sort of cooperative catharsis. What we are left with is a story of a life well spent, and one which took full advantage of a last chance to resolve and heal.

— John Cooper

Screening Details

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