Movie Review: My Dinner with Andre

So I’d been hearing more and more about how great My Dinner with Andre is, making me break down and move it up in my Netflix queue. I’m happy to report that the buzz was true: it really is a fantastic movie. But at the same time, it’s not necessarily a movie. It’s one long dinner scene, consisting almost solely of two characters (Wallace Shawn–better known as Vizzini from Princess Bride) and Andre Gregory) talking to each other. That’s it. It’s not a film you watch to really be entertained by. It’s a film you watch to get yourselves thinking about things. I told DKC after we watched it that it’s a really dense film, and that’s the best way I can describe it. There are so many ideas jam packed in that hour and fifty minutes, that you’ll have a hard time taking them all in in one sitting. DKC and I ended up talking about the film for at least a half hour after it was done, and I think there’s much more conversation to be had about it. It’s one of those films that stays with you–that you’ll start using to illustrate your own ideas years later.

You really ought to see it.

A word of caution, however. About halfway through, I had to convince DKC to finish the film. Not because it was crude or bloody or anything (it’s just a dinner scene, folks–it’s unrated, but it would easily be G if it were rated). No–it’s because the first half doesn’t exactly draw you in. Andre dominates that part of the conversation, and he’s quite the New-Age man. He talks about a series of experiences, each more bizarre than the last, and you’re left wondering when this movie is going to get in gear, and where exactly it’s headed. Then Wally starts speaking, and the two start actually engaging in real conversation, with real ideas and opinions–and that’s when you realize that the first half is setting things up for the second half, so that it can all work the way its intended. The second half more than makes up for that seemingly bizarre first 45 minutes or so. Stick with it.

Four stars.

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