The Dinner

Critics Consensus

The Dinner's strong ensemble isn't enough to overcome a screenplay that merely skims the surface of its source material's wit and insight.

46%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 141

16%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 1,801

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Movie Info

When Stan Lohman (Richard Gere), a popular congressman running for governor, invites his troubled younger brother Paul (Steve Coogan) and his wife Claire (Laura Linney) to join him and his wife Katelyn (Rebecca Hall) for dinner at one of the town's most fashionable restaurants, the stage is set for a tense night. While Stan and Paul have been estranged since childhood, their 16-year- old sons are friends, and the two of them have committed a horrible crime that has shocked the country. While their sons' identities have not yet been discovered and may never be, their parents must now decide what action to take. As the night proceeds, beliefs about the true natures of the four people at the table are upended, relationships shatter, and each person reveals just how far they are willing to go to protect those they love.

Cast

Richard Gere
as Stan Lohman
Laura Linney
as Claire Lohman
Steve Coogan
as Paul Lohman
Rebecca Hall
as Katelyn Lohman
Chloë Sevigny
as Barbara Lohman
Michael Chernus
as Dylan Heinz, Maitre d'
Charlie Plummer
as Michael Lohman
Miles J. Harvey
as Beau Lohman
Onika Day
as Moriah (Homeless Woman)
Judah Sandrige
as Seven Year Old Beau
Judah Sandrige
as Seven Year Old Beau
Jesse Dean Peterson
as Eight Year Old Michael
Ben Snyder
as Eight Year Old Rick
Emma Mud
as Val Lohman
Emma Mud
as Val Lohman
Stephen Lang
as Gettysburg Narrator
Taylor Rae Almonte
as Kamryn Velez
George Shephard
as Stephen Whitney
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News & Interviews for The Dinner

Critic Reviews for The Dinner

All Critics (141) | Top Critics (35) | Fresh (65) | Rotten (76)

  • You can see where this is heading, but it just doesn't work, and most of that, sadly, is down to Coogan.

    December 8, 2017 | Rating: 2/5 | Full Review…

    Ed Potton

    Times (UK)
    Top Critic
  • You can see the points [director Oren] Moverman is trying to make, but it's just a pity that the dialogue isn't sharper and that the protagonists are so thoroughly unsympathetic.

    December 7, 2017 | Rating: 2/5 | Full Review…
  • The first course will be family dysfunction with a sprig of bitter wit. The second course will be fraternal foreboding crushed in a mortar of historical resonance and symbolism. ... The third course - oh the hell with that. Let's have the bill.

    December 6, 2017 | Rating: 2/5 | Full Review…
  • Not even a powerhouse cast can rescue this talky parable about how far parents will go to protect their kids.

    December 5, 2017 | Rating: 2/5 | Full Review…

    Cath Clarke

    Time Out
    Top Critic
  • De Matteo's systematic examination of this theme is engrossing.

    October 11, 2017 | Full Review…
  • Even with a top-notch cast and fine performances, the film is a long, bleak dirge.

    September 8, 2017 | Rating: 2/5 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for The Dinner

  • Apr 28, 2018
    Rarely does a movie go so far out of its way to not tell a story as The Dinner does. Though it presents itself as being about a group of parents who meet to discuss how to handle a crime that their sons committed, it's constantly going off on tangents and then the tangents go on tangents. One of the film's themes is mental illness, so perhaps it's the film's intention to disorientate the audience. But it makes for piss-poor storytelling. It takes about half of the film to suss out who all the characters are and what's happened. And the film doesn't have an ending, it just stops. Featuring Richard Gere, Laura Linney, Steve Coogan, and Rebecca Hall, the cast is pretty good and delivers some strong performance, yet they're not able to save this mess. The Dinner is just a badly make film plain and simple.
    Dann M Super Reviewer
  • Oct 30, 2017
    The performances are very good, even though Steve Coogan plays one of the most insufferable protagonists I have ever seen, but the film itself is actually full of insufferable characters that test our patience and make this an awfully unpleasant experience to go through.
    Carlos M Super Reviewer
  • May 22, 2017
    SPIT IT OUT - My Review of THE DINNER (1/2 Star) Writer/director Oren Moverman knows better, right? I mean, I enjoyed THE MESSENGER and RAMPART, both providing Woody Harrelson with two of his best performances, but his latest, THE DINNER is, to put it mildly, a steaming stinker. Of course, the big dumb studio comedies would normally fill that bill, but when you assemble so much talent, it's that much more disappointing when it fails this miserably. I can honestly say that despite some very good performances, THE DINNER is easily the most excruciating moviegoing experience I've had in years. Structured inexplicably around the multiple courses of a dinner at a fancy restaurant, the film gathers 2 brothers (Richard Gere, a gubernatorial candidate, and Steve Coogan, a high school history teacher) and their respective wives (Rebecca Hall and Laura Linney) as they hope to discuss a personal family matter. Trouble is, they're constantly interrupted by either Gere's chief of staff (a strong Adepero Oduye, PARIAH, 12 YEARS A SLAVE), who provides a ridiculous mcguffin regarding an impending vote on a bill, or by the wait staff who incessantly chime in about each dish, or by Coogan's endless mental health issues. Did I say endless? It literally takes almost an entire hour and a half for us to learn about the main issue because the above-mentioned interruptions just keep coming. When it's finally introduced, our main characters have a heated conversation about it in attempt to come to an agreement. Without spoiling the topic, it amounts to one of those moral quandaries where there's no good answer. It's all told from the point of view of the slowly unraveling Coogan, who in the book by Herman Koch, served as an unreliable narrator. In trying to translate his mental state to the screen, the film ends up being more frustrating than mysterious. Despite this, our five leads do well, with the great Hall beautifully building steam until her character snaps. Linney and Gere, with this being their 3rd collaboration on film, don't interact that much, but they both have solid grasps on their prickly characters. Coogan gets the meatiest part as an unstable, paranoid, angry, disappointed man who resents his successful brother and how his mental status is addressed by everyone around him. There's a compelling movie to be made about his character, but this isn't it. You just want to scream at the screen for everyone to just get on with it. It's basically a short film that's been heavily padded to its nearly two hour running time. The film takes a somewhat psychedelic detour to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, so that we can learn about the death toll of the Civil War. It fits because of the violent themes at play, but it's a jarring tonal shift that should have been cut. The whole thing ends on an ambiguous note clearly intended to start some water cooler conversation. Mine went something like this: ME: Can you believe that ending? BUDDY #1: It's the director's final "fuck you" to the audience. BUDDY #2: Nothing gets resolved. ME: I guess we're supposed to think that violence begets more violence. BUDDY #1: Something we already knew going in. ME: Can you believe a movie called THE DINNER barely showed off the food? BUDDY #2 (to the waiter at Canter's): I'll have the scrambled eggs. BUDDY #1: I'll have the Denver Omelette. ME: I'll have the Brooklyn Avenue with potato salad. I guess Hollywood does have a lesson to teach us after all. No, not that stuff about violence. It's that no matter how unappetizing the film turns out to be, you're still gonna wanna eat afterwards.
    Glenn G Super Reviewer
  • May 14, 2017
    Even though this film's narrative left a sour taste in my mouth, the actors notably Coogan redeemed The Dinner. A lengthy middle section focusing in on the Gettysburg battle brought the film to a screeching halt. The sibling rivalry between Gere and Coogan reminded me of The Smothers Brothers "Mom always like you best" skit. (5-13-17)
    John C Super Reviewer

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