Wallace Shawn and Andre Gregory, apparently playing themselves, share their lives over the course of an evening meal at a restaurant. Gregory, a theater director from New York, is the more ... See full summary »
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Richard E. Grant,
Wallace Shawn and Andre Gregory, apparently playing themselves, share their lives over the course of an evening meal at a restaurant. Gregory, a theater director from New York, is the more talkative of the pair. He relates to Shawn his tales of dropping out, traveling around the world, and experiencing the variety of ways people live, such as a monk who could balance his entire weight on his fingertips. Shawn listens avidly, but questions the value of Gregory's seeming abandonment of the pragmatic aspects of life. Written by
Rick Gregory <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Lloyd Kaufman of Troma, Inc. was production manager and his fledgling company provided support to the making of this film. This was one of his first credits. See more »
Shortly after the main course is served, Wallace Shawn's plate disappears, then a few minutes later, it's back again. See more »
The life of a playwright is tough. It's not easy as some people seem to think. You work hard writing plays and nobody puts them on. You take up other lines of work to make a living - I became an actor - and people don't hire you. So you just spend your days doing the errands of your trade.
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First off, I love this film. I'm sure I will see it a dozen or more times before I die. Definitely a 10/10.
But I comment for a different reason. Sure, you see the philosophy in the conversation. It is very interesting. What I think a lot of viewers are missing, though, is the strong characterizations of Wallace and Andre. They very clearly reveal their characters throughout the movie. I also love the tension that arises between them. Andre subtly criticizes Wally several times in the film (note what Andre says about people who stuff their face out of habit while Wallace is eating; also notice that we hardly ever see Andre himself eat). Wally is perceptive enough to catch them. This movie hit so close to home it was unbelievable. I think I've had that conversation before. The dynamics between Wallace and Andre have existed before between myself and friends with whom I have argued. If you find Andre a little pretentious, by the way, which many people will, don't necessarily believe that that wasn't deliberate. Wally himself finds his friend somewhat pretentious. And I think many people will be fooled into believing that the director sides with Andre just because he speaks the most. Some people will just buy into Andre's ideas and believe Wally is a poor sap. Don't be too sure that Wally has his life in any order. Don't believe he understands all that happens around him. Remember the line in Autumn Sonata that made him weep. Also, notice that Wally is fibbing a bit himself. In his opening monologue, he complains how hard his life is getting. All he used to think about was art, but now the only thing he thinks about is money.
See, this film is filled, just stuffed, with layers. Who would ever think that the most multi-layered film ever is a film about two people who sit down to dinner and talk!
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