111 user 57 critic

Tape (2001)

R | | Drama | 12 July 2002 (Denmark)
Three old high school friends meet in a Michigan motel room to dissect painful memories from their past.


Richard Linklater


Stephen Belber (screenplay), Stephen Belber (play)
1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »




Complete credited cast:
Ethan Hawke ... Vin
Robert Sean Leonard ... Jon
Uma Thurman ... Amy


Twenty-eight year olds Jon and Vince, friends from high school, meet in Vince's seedy motel room in Lansing, Michigan. Jon had invited Vince to town from his current residence of Oakland to help celebrate the fact of his latest movie, independently shot, having a screening at the local film festival the following day, the first public screening of one of his movies. While Jon seems to have grown up in having this career path and a nice room in an upscale hotel provided by the festival, Vince, who, in preparing for the evening has already had a few beer by the time Jon arrives, hasn't, he who deals drugs for a living with no change on the horizon, and his girlfriend, who was supposed to accompany him to Lansing, having broken up with him, indirectly because of his immaturity. This divergence quickly becomes an issue of contention between the two. But as Vince's behavior is seemingly more and more substance affected, he having broken out the weed and coke, his intention with Jon may be ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Some things can't be erased



Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language and drug content | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »

Did You Know?


Robert Sean Leonard and Ethan Hawke both played in Dead Poets Society as classmates and best friends. See more »


Early in the movie, Vince is drinking in front of the bathroom mirror, and a camera and cameraman are reflected in the mirror. See more »


Jon: You don't like my work?
Vin: I like it like I like a shot of whiskey first thing in the morning: it's good for about 10 minutes and then I want my coffee.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The end credits move across the screen in the motions of tape inside a playing cassette. See more »


I'm Sorry
Performed by Brenda Lee
Written by Ronnie Self and Dub Allbritten
Published by Universal Champion Music
Courtesy of MCA Records
Under license from Universal Music Enterprises
[Played during end credits]
See more »

User Reviews

What are we even talking about?
22 September 2017 | by sunriseinyoureyesSee all my reviews

I'm a Linklater fan. Waking Life is among my top five favorite movies. The Before Trilogy awakened me to the true power of dialogue in film. This Linklater film, however, was way more frustrating than satisfying to watch, and the dialogue was, far too often, a mind-gamey labyrinth of petty sarcasm, passive-aggressive antagonizing, manipulation, and verbal circumnavigation. There were so few moments of clarity, if any, which to the writer's benefit, may have been the point. The prospect of this being the intention, for me, was the only redeeming factor of this movie.

Ten years out from high school, old but distant friends Vince (Hawke) and Johnny (Leonard) reunite in a hotel room in Lansing, MI for the debut of Johnny's first independent film at a nearby film festival. Vince is a somewhat volatile and immature Oakland drug-dealer who recently broke it off with his girlfriend of 3 years; his character is the defensive screw-up whose misery loves company. John is his foil, apparently more stable, idealistic, but whose sense of self isn't very concrete but can still come off inflated, especially when in the same room with Vince. Amy (Thurman) is an old fling for both male characters, but in a way that, whenever brought up, inspires ancient unresolved tensions centered on a nebulous incident in high school, the exploration of which drives the majority of the movie.

I think the dialogue was smart from the standpoint of it demonstrating the emotional and manipulative power that words can wield and the haziness of recollection, but in the broader scope of the movie, over time even the characters themselves got lost in what they were talking about! This is when even an iota of clarity could have saved the movie for me. But for me it never came, which felt unjustified because these are supposed to be ADULTS talking, and none of them can seem to muster a straightforward statement. Hence, this film left me resentfully asking the same question plaguing the characters to the end, "What are we even talking about?"

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Release Date:

12 July 2002 (Denmark) See more »

Also Known As:

Tape See more »

Filming Locations:

New York City, New York, USA


Box Office


$100,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$28,424, 4 November 2001

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Dolby SR



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

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