The Criterion Collection
Directed by Louis Malle
Screenplay by Wallace Shawn and Andre Gregory
Stars: Wallace Shawn, Andre Gregory, Jean Lenauer and Roy Butler
My Dinner with Andre has been talked about since the movie was released in 1981. I have heard about the movie since I became a film snob. I have heard about the basic premise of the movie was going to be two guys talking for two hours. That's exactly what it was, but somehow I found the movie fascinating.
Wallace Shawn plays a different version of himself in this movie. He is a struggling actor/playwright that is trying to find his way in the world. He tries to reconnect with a friend from his past, Andre Gregory. Andre has virtually disappeared from the theater scene for years while he traveled the world. The movie takes place during a entire meal while Wallace tries to find out what happened to Andre those years while he was off the grid.
For a second, I thought that the movie was a docu-drama, because the actors were essentially playing themselves. I have read that they were playing fictionalized versions of themselves with James Van Der Beek in "Don't Trust the B in Apt 23" or Neil Patrick Harris in the Harold and Kumar movies. This is movie very specific about the New York theater scene if you are not a part of that scene, this movie would go over your head. Even thought, I have never been an actor in New York. A terrible one in Houston, Texas. I got some the reference that the two men were saying during the course of the dinner.
Watching two guys talking for almost two hours would make you a little uncomfortable. Andre took up most of the conservation at the table. His stories sounded so outrageous that they could not be real. I know that it's a movie, but a person trying to find a purpose in life would try different things and different places. I have to admit that I spaced out with the long monologues Andre was spouting out. By the end of the movie, I was riveted. I cannot put my finger on it, but I did.