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My Dinner with André

My Dinner with André (1981)

tomatometer

No Score Yet...

Average Rating: N/A
Critic Reviews: 1
Fresh: 1 | Rotten: 0

audience

86

liked it
Average Rating: 4/5
User Ratings: 6,309

My Rating

Movie Info

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

PG,

Drama, Comedy

Andre Gregory, Wallace Shawn

Feb 13, 2001

New Yorker Films

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All Critics (25) | Top Critics (5) | Fresh (18) | Rotten (2) | DVD (6)

The dining duo struggle with words between bites, groping for a recipe summoning the meaning of life. And in a movie that redefined as a surprising and inventive enduring classic, both leading man requisites and filmmaking conventions.

March 18, 2013 Full Review Source: WBAI Radio
WBAI Radio

(It) is a downright transgressive film because it brazenly allows its characters to just talk. Actually it allows Andre to talk and, just as importantly, for Wally to listen.

July 25, 2009 Full Review Source: Movie Metropolis
Movie Metropolis

... an intellectual bull session as cinematic performance piece...

July 16, 2009 Full Review Source: Turner Classic Movies Online
Turner Classic Movies Online

What makes the film so intriguing and so beguiling and so utterly wonderful is the way it slowly reveals itself, uncoiling in ways that don't produce dramatic fireworks, but rather gradual realizations

July 1, 2009 Full Review Source: Q Network Film Desk
Q Network Film Desk

But what an egg it is.

June 16, 2009 Full Review Source: Slant Magazine
Slant Magazine

Louis Malle's film was unique and exceptional in 1981, and it's still fairly unusual. It's a lesson in the value of listening and squeezing riches about humanity out of the swag of talk

January 16, 2009 Full Review Source: Urban Cinefile
Urban Cinefile

Witty, urbane, original and very dated.

October 5, 2006
ColeSmithey.com

It's all talk, most of it interesting.

February 7, 2003
Sun Newspapers of Cleveland

Like watching paint dry, only less entertaining.

December 4, 2002 | Comments (7)
Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)

It's difficult to criticize the experiments of a movie that so boldly disregards most cinematic convention.

July 4, 2002 Full Review Source: MovieMartyr.com
MovieMartyr.com

A couple of New York intellectuals get together for dinner and have a confessional chat about their life. Wallace Shawn and Andre Gregory play themselves.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Ozus' World Movie Reviews
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

Audience Reviews for My Dinner with André

First, the truth: this film put me to sleep 4, count 'em, 4 times of trying to watch it (but it was good sleep). Ahh, but the 5th's time the charm wherein I made it through to discover this overlong conversation between two distinctly different types of lives about their differences wasn't too awful after all. The first part, less conversation than monologue, will have you snoozing comfortably once you get the drift ("... the life of an adventurer/vagabond ... its the only way to live!!"). Only when Shawn stops merely listening and opens up his can of psuedo-intellectual whoop ass (" I don't think you have to go to Mt.Everest to have a meaningful experience, I think you could do it right in the local cigar store if you were meaning to!") does the thing catch fire.
January 11, 2013
ApeneckFletcher

Super Reviewer

Two men talk about the proper way to live.
I am having trouble deciphering whether I didn't like this film because of how much I disagreed with Andre, who has free reign over most the screen time, or because the film, through Wally's eventual conversion, seems to support Andre's views, or because it was poorly made. I think a little of all of the above is the best answer.
Andre's pseudo-Buddhist sensibility suggests that "just being" leads to not living in cocoons which he contends is what most people do. Of course, there is some merit to this view, but from all we know about Andre's life, it's hard to believe that he practices all he preaches. After all, this is a man who has traveled to India, Poland, and a few other places I can't specifically remember; he speaks longingly of a kind of "christening" in Poland, during which he was blindfolded, stripped naked, and nearly buried alive. And he's arguing for asceticism. It's like a whore arguing for chastity.
One of Wally's rare moments of protest features him suggesting that one might do well to achieve things, do shit. And Wally's protest is weak because he fails to suggest that the cocoons they think people are living in couldn't be caused by a lack of ambition rather than a lack of "being."
As a film, it would have been better served by balancing the conversation. This is a monologue by Andre, not so much a conversation. Although I disagree with Andre, I can see some valid points to his argument, and those points - indeed the subject as a whole - would have been better served by fully examining the contrary. I think only after we hear the full argument can we make an informed decision.
Overall, My Dinner with Andre is an admirable idea - I'd love to see more films so simply built, just two people talking about philosophy - but Andre's dominance of the conversation is just as over-whelming as the content of this speeches.
August 7, 2011
hunterjt13
Jim Hunter

Super Reviewer

Brilliant dialectical piece. So simple and yet so transcendental.
December 6, 2009
pier007

Super Reviewer

One huge star for Wally Shawn. He earns it--and I mean EARNS it--not for his acting ability--although I love him as an actor--but for sitting there and patiently and politely listening to the interminable droning of Andre. The prototypical "dinner from hell."
April 7, 2006
binky013

Super Reviewer

    1. Himself: A baby holds your hands and then suddenly there's this huge man lifting you off the ground, and then he's gone. Where's that son?
    – Submitted by William Z (2 years ago)
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