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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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>
The low-budget flick was shot in an abandoned hotel in Virginia - in the winter. "Since we didn't have the money to heat the hotel, (producer Beverly Karp) brought me a bit of cognac from time to time," recalls a co-producer. The crew kept warm by wearing ski clothes; the actors just had to act warm, aided by the lights and long underwear. See more »
Wallace Shawn's hair varies from neater to messier and 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 try 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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MY DINNER WITH ANDRE is one of the greatest movies of all time because it works on a seemingly infinite number of levels. Yet at the same time it is one of the biggest failures in film because it only succeeds in connecting to the most insightful of its audience. The resulting paradox only serves to prove the film's lesson to be true. Brilliant!
This is either a movie you will turn off after fifteen minutes, or it is a movie you will watch over and over again to pick up all the things you missed in previous screenings. The former will be bored and lost by the endless, meaningless talk. The latter will find gold in every word, and veins left to be mined time after time.
In simple terms, the question is understood "If life is a stage, are you going to be an actor, a director, or a playwright?" It is the viewer's choice. Wally is a struggling playwright who has fallen back on acting. Andre is a former actor and director who has left the theatre entirely. Wally and Andre meet for dinner, and Andre recounts his experiences since leaving the theatre.
But one of the ironies is that their dinner itself is theatre, and both Andre and Wally have roles to fill. [Notice they wrote the script and use their real names. They are not playing characters. They are necessarily playing themselves.] And summarily the viewer also has a role to fill. If life is a stage, viewing the theatre is in itself theatre. The viewer is now in a place of choosing the role. And will that choice be made mechanically or deliberately? Mechanics is acting. Deliberation is playwrighting.
This is a brilliant, brilliant film. One of the greatest movies of all time. And its resolve is purely subjective to the individual viewer. The goal is to deliberate and come away enlightened (literally). Unfortunately the majority of viewers will act mechanically and turn it off.
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