My Dinner With Andre is one of the best movies I have ever seen. I expected to be a little bored by the movie, and only saw it because of its experimental nature. It didn't work out that way. It takes what should be a non-cinematic subject - two people discussing life experiences and philosophy over dinner - and makes it into an enthralling and entertaining movie.
The subject matter is wonderful, ranging from the everyday to, frequently, the outlandish and the fantastic. But the real joy comes in the characterisations. Upon hearing of this movie, I thought that it might be better suited to a stage production, and part way into it, it occurred to me that a radio play would also be a great way to stage it.
Although either of these approaches might have been rewarding, I believe that film is the ideal medium for this script. First of all, the projection of voice required in the theatre would rob the acting of much of its subtlety and authenticity; two people sitting in a restaurant do not shout at one another constantly, and appropriately much of the dialogue is virtually whispered. And secondly, both theatre and radio eliminate the possibility of playing off facial expressions and reactions. Many of the reaction shots of Wallace Shawn are wonderful, changing the impact of Andre Gregory's statements.
Many people will not be able to appreciate this movie. That's as much as matter of taste as of anything else. But for me, aside from anything else, it reaffirmed the value of good conversation. If the idea of the movie appeals to you at all, you must see it. Ten out of ten.
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