The first sentence of the plot summary on My Dinner with Andre’s Wikipedia page is: “The film depicts a conversation between Gregory and Shawn (not necessarily playing themselves) in a chic restaurant in New York City.” And that’s it. That’s really all the movie is. I think it’s probably impossible to make that sound not boring: Wallace Shawn and Andre Gregory sitting in a restaurant having a conversation for nearly two hours. But here’s where some really legit magic happens: it’s not boring!
Granted, I think you can argue that the beginning of their dinner is a little slow, mostly because you’re trying to figure stuff out: who are these characters/why are we watching them/are they reliable narrators/etc etc. And as a viewer, it just takes some getting used to to just watch two guys talk to each other. It’s not as if the movie has only one shot or anything, but there’s no flashbacks or scene changes, except for the very beginning and the very end. I think as a film audience, we don’t expect to just watch a conversation, so it’s a little bit disconcerting. But ohhhh how it pays off.
There’s really something to be said for movies that rely solely on dialogue and acting. Maybe that’s my writer’s standpoint talking, but it’s just so interesting. My Dinner with Andre is pretty much the definition of this. The writing here is really unbelievable. And of course, the delivery is incredible, too . . . you wouldn’t think there’d be much “acting” involved in two men, playing themselves, having a conversation. But I don’t know. It’s incredible.
I always wanted to see this movie but that was off of the impression that is was Wallace Sean having dinner with Andre the Giant. Unfortunately that was not the case. Fortunately however, this movie is fucking incredible. It’s in many ways it’s everything I want in a movie, it’s just two people, mostly just one, telling stories!!
I always try to get Elizabeth, the writer that she is, to tell me stories but she always refuses so it’s nice to have almost two hours dedicated to just that. [editor’s note – I tell Chris stories all the time]
The other thing I like about this movie is that the debate that unfolds at the end is interesting! It’s basically two people arguing which way they want to view life. And at multiple times I found myself on the side of each one. So there really isn’t a ton of conflict, which I like.
This is a movie I hope to see often. I actually think I might go back to the library soon to check it out again!