45 user 12 critic

Dinner with Friends (2001)

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A husband and wife reevaluate their marriage after their closest friends, another couple decide to split up after twelve years.


Norman Jewison


Donald Margulies (play), Donald Margulies (teleplay)
Nominated for 2 Primetime Emmys. Another 1 win & 4 nominations. See more awards »





Cast overview:
Dennis Quaid ... Gabe
Andie MacDowell ... Karen
Greg Kinnear ... Tom
Toni Collette ... Beth
Taylor Emerson Taylor Emerson ... Danny
Jake Fritz Jake Fritz ... Isaac
Holliston Coleman ... Laurie
Angus T. Jones ... Sammy
Beau Holden ... Al
Dina Morrone ... Hostess
Ruth Reichl ... Herself
Romulo Yanes Romulo Yanes ... Gourmet Photographer


This candid, often-funny drama explores the bittersweet side of friendship through the eyes of two best-friend married couples. Invited to dinner at the suburban home of husband-and-wife food critics Gabe and Karen, Beth reveals she's breaking up with her husband Tom after 12 years of marriage and two children. This unexpected revelation forces Gabe and Karen to reevaluate their seemingly perfect relationship, as well as their friendship with two people who seem to be refusing the life they all once worked so hard to preserve. The drama is set in present-day Connecticut and New York City, with flashbacks to Martha's Vineyard twelve-and-a-half years earlier. Written by <Laffz00@aol.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Can Your Marriage Survive, Your Best Friends Divorce. See more »


Comedy | Drama | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language | See all certifications »


Official Sites:

HBO Films





Release Date:

11 August 2001 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Dinner with Friends See more »

Filming Locations:

Malibu, California, USA See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


The play "Dinner with Friends" won the Pulitzer Prize in Drama in 2000. See more »


15 minutes into the movie, just before Gabe says "Beth, I'm sorry", the clock in the kitchen reads 8:50. A few seconds later, the clock in the foyer reads 8:20. See more »


Gabe: Expressionist. Neo-psychotic.
See more »


References Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (1971) See more »

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User Reviews

Match makers
8 December 2004 | by jotix100See all my reviews

Having seen Donald Margulies' play when it opened in New York, I was interested in what Norman Jewison, the director, had done with it for the screen version. It helps that Mr. Margulies did his own adaptation, although, it appears to this viewer, the stage version was more satisfying. Not that there's anything wrong with the film, it's just that the cast in the play was far superior than these well intentioned actors we see in the movie. Mr. Margulies has tried to open his play, but it just doesn't go anywhere.

The basic premise, and a caveat to good friends, is to stay away from "fixing up" prospective marriage partners, as things in life are a bit more complicated than a good ending in a book, a play, a movie, or human relations.

Karen and Gabe are happily married. They conjure to arrange a meeting with Beth, a painter, and Tom, a lawyer. Basically, the idea of having mutual friends meet one another, might not be bad, but in reality things should be let alone and let nature takes its course. The bright idea back fires on Karen, who, upon hearing at the beginning of the film that her best friend, Beth, is divorcing Tom, is visibly upset. She feels betrayed by these two people she was instrumental in bringing together.

It's hard for both, Gabe and Karen, to think where they went wrong in their match making roles. They never take into consideration that Beth is totally wrong for Tom, and vice versa. The problem is that this couple don't think that Beth and Tom have found new partners in what appears to be a much solid relationships than what they had together. Karen and Gabe are crushed, but in reality, not everything is perfect in their own marriage. We get hints that yes, they are not completely happy, but they have decided to stay in the marriage out of decency and out of duty to their two boys, which is what Beth and Tom have failed to do. Call them old fashioned, but one has to give Karen and Gabe a lot of credit for at least trying to stay together as a family.

Andie MacDowell is Karen; she is a beautiful woman. In the movie, Ms. MacDowell appears a bit distant. She loved to bring people together and resents their friends separation. Ms. MacDowell's Karen comes across as a hard and judgmental person. Dennis Quaid tries hard to give Gabe warmth. Perhaps he comes across as the best of the four principals. Toni Collette's Beth is an enigma until her confrontation with Karen at the restaurant, then, we see a woman that is not shy in telling her best friend off as she embarks in a new relationship. Greg Kinnear is Tom. He is perhaps the weakest link in the quartet, as he is perhaps, not treated fairly by Karen, or Gabe.

The movie remains a bit theatrical, but Norman Jewison has done wonders with the material.

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