The Secret Lives of Dentists (2003)



Critic Consensus: A witty and honest look at marriage in decay.

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Movie Info

A gentle man suddenly finds himself at a loss for what to do when he suspects his wife has been unfaithful in this comedy drama from director Alan Rudolph. David and Dana Hurst (Campbell Scott and Hope Davis) are a married couple with three children who also happen to be dentists who share an office. David is a quiet and reserved sort, while Dana has been quietly but obviously unhappy with things recently. Backstage at a community theater production, David sees Dana in the arms of another man and is immediately certain she's having an affair, a suspicion only deepened by her continued dark mood, long periods of silence, and frequent trips out of the house. Slater (Denis Leary) is a disgruntled patient of the Hursts who has gone public with his unhappiness over their work; as David tries to work out Slater's differences, Slater becomes a frequent (and not always welcome) visitor in David's home. As he observes the obvious tension in David and Dana's relationship, Slater begins offering his own gruff brand of advice to David -- including acting cooler and informing Dana "I could kill you" at the dinner table. Co-produced by leading man Campbell Scott, The Secret Lives of Dentists was based on the novel The Age of Grief by Jane Smiley.
R (for sexuality and language)
Art House & International , Comedy , Drama
Directed By:
Written By:
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Campbell Scott
as David Hurst
Hope Davis
as Dana Hurst
Denis Leary
as Slater
Gianna Beleno
as Lizzie Hurst
Lydia Jordan
as Stephanie Hurst
Cassidy Hinkle
as Leah Hurst
Adele D'Man
as Carol
Sara Lerch
as Virgin
Lori Mirabel
as Virgin
Mark Ethan
as Conductor
Flora Martinez
as Female Patient
J. Tucker Smith
as Handsome Patient
Kevin Carroll
as Dr. Danny
Kate Clinton
as Elaine
Herbert Ade
as Male Patient
Aisha de Haas
as Policewoman
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Critic Reviews for The Secret Lives of Dentists

All Critics (95) | Top Critics (35)

Rudolph's fondness for angular, oblique characterization is ideally suited to the movie's incidental story of sublimated feelings and contradictory impulses.

Full Review… | November 14, 2003
Toronto Star
Top Critic

Domestic scenes with the kids are drawn with letter-perfect naturalism.

Full Review… | November 14, 2003
Globe and Mail
Top Critic

There are movies that have a way of hitting you at a certain time in your life, and this study of being married with young children speaks in satisfying ways.

Full Review… | September 11, 2003
Detroit Free Press
Top Critic

It's funny, honest enough to make you squirm and a film that may make you feel a little bit of the pain on the other side of that shrieking drill.

September 5, 2003
Orlando Sentinel
Top Critic

Rudolph's past work has been spotty, but his stress here on familial sovereignty is moving, as is his direction of the three children.

September 3, 2003
The New Republic
Top Critic

A faultlessly constructed, artistic look at love, loss and truths we can't ignore.

August 28, 2003
Arizona Republic
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for The Secret Lives of Dentists

Not too popular on the fan metre but I actually enjoyed this film.There is a nice natural feel to the characters brimming with honesty.

John Ballantine
John Ballantine

Super Reviewer

For Fans Of: Maritial Drama, Hope Davis, Denis Leary Date Night: Nope Art Factor: Low Fun Factor: Low Emotional Factor: Low Intelligence Required: Low Essential Viewing: No Let's get the good stuff about this flick out of the way first. The acting is pretty good in this one. Hope Davis always comes through on anything she appears in so that wasn't a big shock. Denis Leary is kind of like the drunken American-Irish equal of Russell Brand, funny, but very one note. Nothing changes here. Campbell Scott, the "other lead" is one of those guys that you always recognize, but will never bother to learn his name. You all know the type. Good actor, just not memorable enough to remember his name. Oh, the kids in the film, annoying as hell, were good at it. Ok, lets get down to brass tacks. The movie looks awful. The direction and shot selections remind me of a lifetime movie, the kind my mother loves to watch on Sundays. I mean, poor lighting, bad angles, you name it, it happens. The script starts out really edgy and creative, and then ploop, goes right in the shitter. Leary switches roles half way through the movie and starts playing a broke ass version of Tyler Durden (Brad Pitt from Fight Club). The movie just turns into one big long dentist pity party with a shit resolution. There was massive potential here. Good cast, creative and original idea, but the follow through just kind of went limp. My advice is to probably avoid unless you just have a love for one of the leads or you love the Lifetime movie network.

Michael Clark
Michael Clark

Campbell Scott in my opinion is the most underrated actor in Hollywood after seeing this Roger Dodger, Crashing and the Dying Gaul. He and Hope Davis have incredible chemistry throughout this film, but the unsung hero of the movie is Denis Leary, who's sleaziness fits well with the film.

Lucas Yothment
Lucas Yothment

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