7.3/10
3,423
14 user 7 critic

Chinese Coffee (2000)

Harry and Jake, two unsuccessful writers, spend a cathartic evening arguing about money, aesthetics, their friendship, and Harry's new manuscript.

Director:

Al Pacino

Writers:

Ira Lewis (play), Ira Lewis (screenplay)
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Al Pacino ... Harry Levine
Jerry Orbach ... Jake Manheim
Susan Floyd ... Joanna
Ellen McElduff Ellen McElduff ... Mavis
Michel Moinot Michel Moinot ... Maurice
Judette Jones Judette Jones ... Supermarket cashier
Paul J.Q. Lee ... Counterman
Joel Eidelsberg Joel Eidelsberg ... Harry's brother
Maria Gentile Maria Gentile ... Sarah / Bellydancer
Christopher Evan Welch ... Hamlet actor
Neal Jones ... Eteocles / Actor in play
Laura Esterman Laura Esterman ... Actor in play / Messenger
Hazelle Goodman ... Cafe Dante waitress (as Hazel Goodman)
James Bulleit James Bulleit ... Sgt. Boyle - Undercover cop #1
Mark Scarola Mark Scarola ... Undercover cop #2
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Storyline

When aging, unsuccessful Greenwich Village writer Harry Levine is fired from his job as restaurant doorman, he calls on friend and mentor Jake, ostensibly to collect a long-standing debt. Harry takes the opportunity to solicits his opinion on his latest manuscript, a work of semi-fiction based on their longtime friendship. Although he initially denies having read it, Jake later attacks it on aesthetic grounds, and deep-seated feelings of betrayal and jealousy surface, resulting in a traumatic confrontation. Written by duke1029@aol.com

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

There's a fine line between friendship and betrayal.

Genres:

Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

2 September 2000 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Kinietiška kava See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Al Pacino starred in the 1992 Broadway stage production of "Chinese Coffee". See more »

Goofs

Around 25 minutes into the film, Harry opens a large jar of pennies by unscrewing the lid and placing it onto the table. The lid then mysteriously reappears on the jar seconds later. See more »

Quotes

Harry Levine: Hollywood? You can't be old there unless you've been young there.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Biography: Al Pacino: Inside Out (2001) See more »

Soundtracks

Better Times
Composed and Conducted by Howard Shore
South Fifth Avenue Publishing (ASCAP) (c) 1998
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User Reviews

 
A Lost Classic
4 August 2008 | by Movie-JaySee all my reviews

This is the only movie I've ever gone to see twice at a film festival. It played in Toronto at the 2000 film festival, and my friend and I talked about it for hours afterwards. It's an invigorating movie, based on the play by Ira Lewis, about two bohemian guys, approaching 50, adrift in the early 80's, yet stuck in the past.

It's a "talkie" movie that could play on a double-bill with "My Dinner With Andre", a two-hander about a book Pacino has written and the first encounter with his friend, played by Jerry Orbach, since the Pacino character has lent it to him. But it's about so much more than that: it's about writing, dreaming, the creative process, relationships, loneliness, poverty, and finally, values. There isn't a moment that we're not involved with these two guys as they negotiate their relationship. The script crackles with life and wit, observation and nuance. Pacino first directed the great documentary "Looking For Richard", about how to approach staging a Shakespeare play. And here in "Chinese Coffee" he proves once again that he has a natural ability to tell a story in a completely fresh and interesting way, free of the constraints and pettiness of a routine plot.

If you're an actor and you haven't seen this movie, than shame on you, this one will have you going for days. And you'll return to it, too. It's a buried treasure in a great career for Pacino. I can't recommend it any higher.


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