4.5/10
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135 user 117 critic

The Dinner (2017)

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Two sets of wealthy parents meet for dinner to decide what to do about a crime their sons have committed.

Director:

Oren Moverman

Writers:

Herman Koch (based on the novel by), Oren Moverman (screenplay by)
1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Michael Chernus ... Dylan Heinz
Taylor Rae Almonte ... Kamryn Velez
Steve Coogan ... Paul Lohman
Charlie Plummer ... Michael Lohman
Seamus Davey-Fitzpatrick ... Rick Lohman
Miles J. Harvey ... Beau Lohman
Laura Hajek ... Anna
Laura Linney ... Claire Lohman
Richard Gere ... Stan Lohman
Rebecca Hall ... Katelyn Lohman
George Shepherd George Shepherd ... Stephen Whitney (as George Shephard)
Adepero Oduye ... Nina
Joel Bissonnette ... Antonio
Patrick Kevin Clark ... Conor
Chloë Sevigny ... Barbara Lohman
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Storyline

A former history teacher and his wife Claire meet at a fancy restaurant with his elder brother, a prominent politician and his wife Babette. The plan is to discuss over dinner how to handle a crime committed by their teenage sons. The violent act of the two boys had been filmed by a security camera and shown on TV, but, so far, they have not been identified. The parents have to decide on what to do. Written by AnonymousB

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

What are you willing to do to protect those you love? See more »

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Thriller

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for disturbing violent content, and language throughout. | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Official site

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

5 May 2017 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

La cena See more »

Filming Locations:

Dobbs Ferry, New York, USA See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$655,493, 5 May 2017, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$1,322,839, 9 June 2017
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

This is actually the third film version to be made from Herman Koch's best selling novel. A Dutch film came out in 2013, and an Italian one in 2014. Both were well received and nominated for numerous awards. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Midnight Screenings: The Dinner (2017) See more »

Soundtracks

Come Back Baby
Written by Walter Davis
Performed by Lowell Fulson
Courtesy of JSP Records
By arrangement with The Orchard
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User Reviews

 
An Exciting Mess
12 February 2017 | by tributarystuSee all my reviews

Oren Moverman's latest movie is quite the challenge. It has difficult characters, discomforting dialogue, an intricate construction and spreads over two hours. Nobody can accuse The Dinner of being unambitious, but I would like to accuse it of being an ambitious mess. Thankfully, not an unbearable mess.

Although Richard Gere (Stan) headlines, it's Steve Coogan (Paul), playing his brother, who appears to lead at the beginning. In an unexpected American accent, he narrates with misanthropic cynicism, as preparations for a dinner event are underway. The narration stops at some point and comes back randomly throughout the movie - just one of several small incoherences that make everything feel unusual. Stan and Paul's relationship is strained, at best, while their wives Kate (Rebecca Hall) and Claire (Laura Linney) act as mediators. Some dark matter seems to have brought them together at an elitist restaurant boasting culinary lushness; a matter which unfolds at a slow pace, interlaced with Stan fighting to pass a bill in congress, Paul's Gettysburg obsessions, their children's suspect affairs, past personal traumas, all across several courses of an impressive sounding meal.

For a movie that desires to tackle the lofty theme of social divide, it starts out feeling very personal. As it progresses, it distances itself from Paul to focus on the bigger picture and gravitate around Stan. It's a difficult move to pull off, as some sense of alienation occurs in the viewer, who has to accept the deep flaws surfacing in the 'object of attachment'. I felt a bit stranded, which culminated in a subpar ending.

But it wasn't a complete shipwreck, as Stan, alongside Kathey and Claire, managed to wrestle my attention. Indeed, wrestle is the right word, in what turns out to be a less than peaceful digestif. The whole preachiness of the last thirty minutes or so is borderline crass, yet engaging, in a visceral kind of way. It's a decent payout after ninety minutes of fluctuating intensity.

Do the themes and motives really blend though? It's hard to find a 'red string' to carry you through, as Paul's Hobbesian worldview overlaps with discussions of mental illness, political maneuvering and familial discord. You get pushed into finding personal interpretations to allegorical content, which is fun and rewarding, yet the movie proves heavy- handed in framing its moral questions and imperatives. Next to its schizophrenic identity dilemma, this just works against itself in the final scenes.

I really liked the intensity, the grotesque and obscene affluence entailed by the dinner scenes, even some of the almost derivative monologues. The interpretative freedom made some of the drearier moments worthwhile, but more cohesion and restraint would have transformed The Dinner into something quite special all around. In spite of the backlash it's being served, Oren Moverman's film is a worthwhile exploration into how messy holding yourself consistent socially and philosophically can be.


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