The Secret Lives of Dentists (2002)

R  |   |  Drama  |  29 August 2003 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.5/10 from 3,124 users   Metascore: 76/100
Reviews: 86 user | 57 critic | 35 from

An introspective dentist's suspicions about his wife's infidelity stresses his mental well being and family life to the breaking point.



(novel), (screenplay)
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3 wins & 5 nominations. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
David Hurst
Peter Samuel ...
Dana Hurst
Gianna Beleno ...
Lizzie Hurst
Lydia Jordan ...
Stephanie Hurst
Leah Hurst
Kathleen Kinhan ...
Sara Lerch ...
Lori Mirabal ...
Mark Ethan ...
Female Patient (as Flora Martinez)


The movie centers on a dentist who has a strange dream that blurs the boundaries between fantasy and reality. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis



Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for sexuality and language | See all certifications »


Official Sites:



Release Date:

29 August 2003 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

La vida secreta de un dentista  »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$121,769 (USA) (1 August 2003)


$3,707,201 (USA) (26 December 2003)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

| |


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


The headboard in the bedroom appears and disappears between scenes See more »


Slater: These children are monsters, they should be struck... can I hit them?
David Hurst: No.
See more »


Features Shop 'Til You Drop (1991) See more »


This Is the Night
Written by Matt Johnson
Performed by The The
Courtesy of Epic Records and Sony Music Entertainment (UK) Ltd.
By Arrangement with Sony Music Licensing
See more »

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User Reviews

Root canal, anyone?
29 August 2003 | by (New York) – See all my reviews

Alan Rudolph has come out, again, a winner with this taut dramatic comedy. The screen play by Craig Lucas, and based on a Jane Smiley's book, is a story about what happens to a married couple that is overwhelmed with the daily wear and tear of their suburban boredom.

David Hurst discovers at the very beginning of the film that his wife might be having an extra marital affair. The only problem is, he never gets to know who this person is that his wife, Dana, is seeing on the sly. All appearances point out to the fact that his dentist wife, has found someone that satisfies her more than the good husband.

Now, is it real, or is Dave seeing things? It's very easy to think that yes, Dana is cheating on her husband, yet, we never get any conclusive evidence this is so.

The wife, evidently, in this marriage is overwhelmed by her own life. She has her own practice as a dentist; she is a full fledged mother with three little girls that are showing signs of collective neurosis at a very early age in life, and she is an member of the chorus of the local opera company, which consumes all the free time she has.

Therefore, Dana's relationship with Dave suffers as they don't communicate. We never see them confronting what's wrong with their marriage, or what's driving them apart. Dave never has the courage to question Dana about her odd behavior. He is a coward who would rather keep a status quo and would never question the wife he clearly adores. There is a hidden drama between these two that never comes out in the open at all. It is a miracle they have stayed together for as long as they have since by all apparent reasons, this marriage should have been over a long, long time ago.

Campbell Scott is an actor whose face registers all the emotions this David Hurst is feeling without much effort. His take on this dentist is so incredible that one feels he is the real dentist at all times. One wouldn't mind going to him for a root canal, or any dental problem, as you know he is a decent person, even when he treats the patient from hell, Dennis Leary, at the beginning of the film.

Hope Davis is perfection herself in her approach to Dana. She is the mother of the three troubled little girls, as well as the wife of Dave. She hasn't enough time to pursue all she wants in life. Maybe she married David for the wrong reasons; perhaps she should have left this situation a long time ago. Who knows what's on her mind? Ms Davis is a fine actress who always delivers. In the hands of Alan Rudolph she is at the top of her form.

The three little Hurst girls are fine as the daughters of Dave and Dana and Dennis Leary is excellent as Dave's conscience in a very subtle role that he makes it his own.

19 of 22 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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