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My Dinner With Andre (Criterion) (1981)

Cast: Wallace Shawn, Wallace Shawn, Andre Gregory, more...
Director: Louis Malle, Louis Malle
    see all cast/crew...
Rating: Not Rated
Studio: Criterion
Genre: Independent, Criterion Collection
Languages: English

My Dinner With Andre (Criterion) (1981)
A extended conversation between two old friends over dinner proves an unexpectedly fascinating subject for a film in the critically acclaimed My Dinner with André. The talkers in question are André Gregory, a renowned experimental theater director, and playwright and actor Wallace Shawn, both of whom play themselves. The film is not a documentary, but a condensation of several real discussions fashioned into a dramatic exchange by Shawn and director Louis Malle. The subtle conflict stems from the differences in the men's characters: Gregory is an inquisitive, uninhibited wanderer, willing to travel to remote lands to take part in unusual foreign rituals, while Shawn is the cynical, realistic New Yorker, more concerned with the challenges and rewards of day-to-day city life. Malle approaches their philosophical yet playful back-and-forth with a straightforward, minimal style that only rarely wanders outside its restaurant setting. The focus therefore falls on Shawn's and Gregory's contrasting verbal styles and facial expressions, highlighting conversational nuances normally lost on film. While the idea of watching any conversation for over 90 minutes, no matter how fascinating, may turn off some viewers, enough audiences have supported the film to make it an art-house classic. ~ Judd Blaise, All Movie Guide

My Dinner With Andre (Criterion) (Bonus Disc) (1981)

  • Video interviews with actors André Gregory and Wallace Shawn by filmmaker and friend Noah Baumbach
  • My Dinner with Louis, an episode from the BBC program Arena, in which Shawn interviews director Louis Malle

  • GreenCine Member Ratings

    My Dinner With Andre (Criterion) (1981)
    read reviews    New Listadd to list
    7.09 (227 votes)
    My Dinner With Andre (Criterion) (Bonus Disc) (1981)
    New Listadd to list
    9.33 (3 votes)

    GreenCine Member Reviews

    good conversation, but that's about all. by lividsnails March 11, 2005 - 4:57 PM PST
    2 out of 4 members found this review helpful
    Is it an interesting conversation? Absolutely! Is is an interesting film? Well... yeah, if you like films of interesting conversations. But I can have dinner with interesting friends and have really great conversations on my own. Why do I need to watch other people do it?

    Lividsnails' Blog

    Everything will look a little different... by jonasgreencine January 20, 2005 - 9:09 AM PST
    4 out of 5 members found this review helpful
    This is a great film because it illuminates the power of a meaningful conversation. The viewing experience isn't simply reduced to witnessing an exchange of information between two interesting individuals but rather being caught up in a gradual development of mood. The driving theme is the existential dilemma of material security versus taking creative risks. Wallace Shawn's character has some very memorable lines in this regard, especially the one about his "electric blanket." This film should appeal to anyone that has mused over the justification of art or the inner workings of the creative process.

    They should have just had coffee instead by CSullivan February 24, 2003 - 7:44 PM PST
    3 out of 10 members found this review helpful
    Well, it has some interesting moments that are truly thought provoking. . . but most of it is just boring. I kept thinking the editing should have been much smoother, and that they would have been better off using two cameras at the same time to shoot the main characters to get more natural, believable interactions and edit from there. Oh well. It was an interesting idea for a film, and what can I say, I've been a Wallace Shawn fan since the Princess Bride and Toy Story (I & II). At least now I can say I've seen this film classic and be done with it.

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