The social and the psychological elements of David Storey's In Celebration build rather slowly but nevertheless very strongly to an emotional peak which is tremendously moving…. The result is a love-hate drama, risking sentimentality in its determination to be honest, and succeeding in Lindsay Anderson's skilled marshalling of the … cast…. (p. 29)
Once, during the slow stuff early on, Anderson cuts well away to a short sequence when Colin picks up Andrew in his car on their way north, and this abrupt intrusion of familiar action-type cinema, as opposed to the cinema-of-words that prevails, is arguably a mistake. It increases my surprise at the omission of some short visual observations—a montage, maybe—of the actual celebratory dinner…. [Such] events, of course, are not anything more in themselves than circumstances which bring out the dramatic essence of the plays, and in the theatre we accept the convention that the occasions have gone by during the interval. But the film of In Celebration, when I saw it, had no interval…. Emotionally, for a British film, [the] overall effect is remarkably potent, and seamlessly joined to the social and psychological theses. (p. 30)
Gordon Gow, "Reviews: 'In Celebration'" (© copyright Gordon Gow 1976; reprinted with permission), in Films and Filming, Vol. 22, No. 10, July, 1976, pp. 29-30.