Written by Williams / Goodwin / Williams
Performed by Doves
Courtesy of Astralwerks Records
Under license from EMI Film & TV Music See more »
Engrossing Look at a Suburban Marriage in Crisis
"The Secret Lives of Dentists" is a wonderful evocation of fatherhood and the power of paternal feelings, even while it's showing a marriage in crisis.
Campbell Scott is the antithesis of his ego-centric child-man in "Roger Dodger" to present a loving, if repressed, father and husband who is shook to the very core of his being by suspicions of his wife's infidelity.
Playwright Craig Lucas adapts Jane Smiley's novella (I read "Age of Grief" but only remember it as a brittle slice of realism about marriage and family) by using a similar technique as in "A Beautiful Mind" in having conversations with hyper Denis Leary to let us inside the panic in the husband's mind. Especially well shown, with beautiful editing, cinematography, and music, are his stream-of-consciousness memories of his meeting, courting, and living with his wife.
Hope Davis doesn't get to do much more than Meryl Streep did in "Kramer vs. Kramer," but she adds significantly to her actual lines with luminous acting, especially when we see how happy she is when she's away from her ball-and-chain, though we get very little other explanation for her behavior or choices.
This movie has absolutely the most vivid depiction of what it's like to be stuck at home with sick kids; the very young child actors are the most natural and delightful I've ever seen in the movies. The spreading fever becomes a wonderful metaphor for the state of the marriage and a way to release Dad's fantasy life even more, as well as a realistic family crisis.
Friends of my parents served as dental consultants; their names are spelled wrong, but those aren't the only misspellings in the credits.
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