Obviously, there is a difference of opinion here. (by zen-hood)
Are the ratings ever accurate? Probably not.Richard Gere is one of the most underrated actors, and I keep asking myself why. What is it with the Academy? What's wrong with them? Until I realized he doesn't belong there, never did, but somewhere else, beyond and above them.This film has no happy ending. Instead, it's ending is abrupt and gut-wrenching and tragedy lingers, as though the story hasn't ended. Who knows? Maybe it has? Or, maybe it's part of something larger? Maybe the Second part of the Trilogy is just around the corner?This is best manifestation of someone who <more>
has a psychiatric diagnoses. Why? Because it doesn't tell you. It shows you how deeply conflicted someone is when they know they have been compromised.Their brains seldom refrain from producing a host of distortions, and though we know we're still somewhere in there, the intellect and emotions have been sabotaged, and our defenses weakened.We are powerless before such a formidable opponent who lives inside of us, and whose resources are vast and unparalleled. The odds aren't looking good. And those persons know it.But while this one character clearly cannot escape his demons, however brilliant he may be, the other characters are, as all humans, flawed and conflicted. And the moral compass keeps shifting.Their motives are elusive and mysterious and cannot be easily determined. So the question you keep asking yourself while watching: What is going on? And the tension is almost unbearable.It's about a family. Brothers, wives, and children. Is he actually trying to hurt the brother? It's possible. Besides, after all, he's a powerful politician who has an unstable brother and the Governor's race is tomorrow. Or is he trying to help and protect his brother? And what about the wives? Are they who they appear to be? If not, then who are they?A crime has been committed by 2 boys. But are you sure it's only 2 boys, or is there a 3rd boy, as well? The scene is replayed over and over, but the versions keep shifting. So which version is real?And what have the parents done? Are their motives altruistic, sinister, or simply misunderstood? We can't be sure because we are forced to consider the possibilities. And our instincts. It's up to us to determine which context is real, and which one isn't? And that's what makes it so exciting.
One of the best films of the year (by whineycracker2000)
The Dinner, Oren Moverman's impressive, yet already swept-under-the-rug latest film, plays more like a thriller and less the character-driven morality tale one might expect it to be. Watching it reminded me of the famous quote from Hitchcock on his approach to directing: "the film director more interested in content than style is like "a painter worrying about whether the apples he's painting are sweet or sour. Who cares? It's his style, his manner of painting them. That's where the emotion comes from." Applying that logic to The Dinner, one can reasonably refer <more>
to the film as an exercise in style over substance. This reviewer on the other hand, found it had plenty of both in equal measure.Moverman creates a film here that is like a feverish dream, the one where memories and facts come to us in fractured bits and everyday events are molded into abstraction. As such, his audience is often forced to deduce his or her own meanings based solely on a given character's often inconsistent behaviors we see this best exemplified by the Paul character, who, despite being depicted as the film's mentally ill scapegoat, may have the most reliable perspective out of the entire dysfunctional lot . Moverman feeds the audience just enough context clues through carefully chosen flashback sequences accompanied by a visual style that often recalls Italian Giallo, curiously enough. The film wisely opts for the less-is-more approach; as to not beat the audience over the head with heavy-handed explanations. It makes perfect sense that Herman Koch and many fans of his novel hated the film. Like Kubrick's The Shining, it takes the raw goods from its source material and cinematizes the hell out of them.Yes, the film is all over the place. Of course it is, and fittingly so. It's suitable because these characters, and the audience, are forced to take in such a frenzy of information amid a convoluted, devastating situation with so many variables- and then make fast, potentially life-altering decisions that could be the wrong ones, while the clock ticks on. Moverman's film is about the anxiety of having to make those decisions, rather than their outcome. The film's style merely reflects the dizzying array of emotions and behaviors that these decisions evoke in the characters, and the film realistically captures the air of desperation that the situation elicits.I just can't relate to those reviewers who state that the characters are so unlikable that they render the film unwatchable. That's like putting the cart before the horse, isn't it? Think about this: what do real people do when they are in crisis mode and the stakes are raised? They reflect on past experiences and actions leading up to their current predicament. They may try to justify those actions or blame others, verbally attack, lash out, become defensive and angry, replay old conversations, take things out of context, manipulate and overreact. And the characters in Moverman's film do just that, courtesy of the powerhouse performances by its talented cast that never hit a false note. I don't know, maybe the viewers who hated the characters exemplify the "we hold in contempt the traits in others, of that which we see in ourselves" paraphrasing theory. By the end of the film, I just wanted to give every character a hug and tell them to suck it up at the same time.The Dinner will probably be dismissed and forgotten well before its time, which is a real shame because it's becoming increasingly rarer to see Hollywood films like this that don't merely preach to the choir, but rather serve as a catalyst for some thought-provoking discussions surrounding its timely topics. Love it or hate it, The Dinner is undeniably the work of an artist. It is confrontational, bold, and made with real gusto and a mastery of the medium Moverman so effectively employs to tell its story.
Of course there aren't two kinds of people, that would be a stupid thing to say, but in the spirit of most of the reviews of this film let's just say...there are two kinds of people, those allergic to intelligence and those allergic to stupidity. This film is just too damn demanding on so many levels - most of America will have a migraine fifteen minutes in trying to understand the language, sort through all of the relationships, follow the plot, and so on, that they'll give up. Too bad. The movie is a remarkable look at how some perhaps most? among the very wealthy feel above <more>
it all above the rest of us , including above the law. Masterful direction, cinematography, writing, and acting, with an amazing score. This and "Ladybird" were my favorite films of the year.
In chi-chi restaurant battling brothers debate their criminal sons' fate (by maurice_yacowar)
This film doesn't end. It just stops. As if in mid-sentence. It's like the abrupt end to The Sopranos, rejecting the reactionary and inane wrap-up to Breaking Bad. The open end is necessary because the moral, social and psychological issues the film sets in motion are too complex and too shifting to settle into any easy resolution. Richard Gere gets top billing as Stan Lohman, the congressman about to be elected governor. But his psychologically damaged younger brother Paul Steve Coogan has arguably the more central role and conveys the key line: "We make war for love." As <more>
a high school history teacher Paul teaches Gettysburg, the beginning of the end — i of the civil war, and ii of a society securely rooted in values and moral certainty. Of course the Civil War was fought for economics as much as anything else. But the soldiers thought they were fighting for conflicting loves: the mythologized glory of the Old South vs the valiant ideal of egalitarian freedom.Paul is a savage, it turns out, as we see in his two classrooms rants where his rage and cynicism overrun any academic decorum. As he early tells us, he prefers the heroic days of ancient Greece and Rome, the pagan energies, over the Dark Ages and ensuing silly niceties of modern times. That's why the two brothers and their families take this slugfest to the ultra-expensive chichi restaurant. The setting makes this another exploration of Civilization and its Discontents. As the two couples debate how to treat their sons' savagery the maitre d' recites the pedigree of each ingredient. This is an extensio ad absurdum of the refinements of civilization and the rewards of its privileged. Paul is uncomfortable there, in part because he can't afford it, he doesn't understand it, and he feels as excluded from this ritual as he felt from his mother's preference for Stan. If he seems sensible in disdaining the manners and the preciousness, he's ultimately just destructive and rude. Stan is easy in that precious milieu, gliding through the crowd of Washington Insiders. His slickness tempts us to dismiss him. But when he decides to abandon his career and bring his son to justice Stan represents civilization at its moral best. The brothers' different responses to the dinner cohere with their different responses to their sons' brutal and mindless murder of a homeless black woman, burning her alive in an ATM booth. To our surprise, the slick politico wants his son to face judgment. The total strategist suddenly places morality and principle above expediency. In contrast, his more cynical — and less capable of action — brother decides to preserve the sons' secret by setting out to kill Stan's adopted black son, Beau, who has decided to turn in the two boys. Both mothers fiercely try to protect the boys against Stan's eruption of morality. Claire Laura Linley tries to settle the matter without involving hubby Paul, arranging to pay off Beau for his silence. When he changes his mind, she orders Paul to "look after Beau" — a demand about as motherly as Lady Macbeth. Stan's wife Katelyn shares Claire's commitment to save the boys, even though they're only her step-sons. Hungry to save their sons the mothers demonize and wholly misrepresent their innocent victim. Despite this difference, both woman are the supportive roots of their husband's lives. The fierceness of maternal love bonds the women in contrast to their husbands' antagonism. Here the film seems most reflective of Trump's America. In the mothers insistence upon protecting their own family interests above all law and morality, they are Republicans at their most acceptable. Paul slips into their position, off his meds, too weak and confused to resist. But the moral hero is the politician Stan, who places conscience and justice ahead of his own and his family's interests. That's the liberal politician, an endangered species in Trump's America. Hence Stan's campaign for a bill to grant the mentally afflicted the same health coverage as the physically ill get. This echo of Obamacare — and slap at Trumpcare — also reflects on how Stan grew out of his own mother's madness, which persists in Paul. The figure we initially reject — the slick Stan, Washington Insider — turns out to hold the moral center. This film posits a liberal humanity against the Trump ethos.But it's not an easy choice. Which is the villain: the mother who will do anything to protect her son or the father who places justice and morality over this personal interests? The film ends before the three-day delay Stan grants his wife to try to change his mind. We don't know how that family's drama will end. Nor should we, given the complexities of the drama at the family, national and archetypal levels. But if we're responsible citizens we'll try to figure out what we would do in that position. It's not easy.
I was totally captivated by this film. All the cast were excellent, all of them favorites of mine, with Steve Coogan's depiction of mental imbalance especially brilliant. Some of the audience at my showing seem to be baffled by the unorthodox ending, but I thought it a fitting end. Will see whatever Moverman does in the future.
Getting along with the brother from another mother. (by imdb-936-837144)
"The Dinner" opens with a collage of: a faint radio voice asking about danger, panning to an ATM closet, then to a Civil War memorial, a graveyard, and then some rap music with its distinctive vocabulary. Some kids are seen drinking until the cops bust it up and the youngest pukes.What follows is some of the most boring footage ever shown, where high school history teacher Paul Lohman Steve Coogan narrates to us his love for ancient history and to his wife his desire not to attend a planned dinner. It can only get better from here.They meet up with Paul's brother Stan Lohman <more>
Richard Gere a consummate politician. Dinner conversation coupled with some judicious flashbacks explore the historical and political dimensions of racism in America as they discuss solutions to the jam their boys are in.Stan's hard working black assistant Nina Adepero Oduye while not occupying the high side of any glass ceiling nevertheless can exemplify Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation that exhorts the freed Negroes to accept available work at fair wages. Paul's high school with its half White half Negro attendance would follow the Eisenhower era decision of Brown v. Board of Education on integration. The colored diners at an exclusive restaurant represent their access to services as demanded by MLK. And the remaining progress is covered by Stan who has the African-American vote sewn up.The problem arises when Stan and his wife's black younger boy Beau having been adopted tries playing the race card to gain power with his sibling and cousin, they being natural offspring. Paul resents him personally. If institutional racism has been completely conquered in society, is it even possible to have racism with just one black person in a family? You'd be surprised.That's just the political dimension; the historical is worse. The bloody battle of Gettysburg pales compared to the ancient Deluge of Paul's period. Ellen Gunderson Traylor in her historical novel _Noah_ Polson, MT: Port Hole Pub., 2001 writes, "prurient lusts so corrupted the line of Adam, that it was a rare family indeed which had no blood of the gods in its veins. The daughters of mankind had so often been vulnerable to seduction, that it was extremely rare to find an unblemished line" p. 59-60 . "Noah was perfect in his generations" Gen. 6:9 , so any impurities would have come from the female side. In "The Dinner" the source of mental illness in the Lohman family line was attributed to their mother "Mom was a wacko." In Noah's family it appears to have been from maybe a handmaid the mother of Ham the youngest—after the mother of Shem and Japheth quit bearing—, who brought the bad seed, which was demonstrated in the drunken Noah incident of Gen. 9:18-27 resulting in a fixed servile position of the youngest son of three, whose offspring through Cush Hebrew for black colonized Africa. In "The Dinner" history repeats itself in an incident with a "stinko bum" and miscreant son s . Some rearrangement in the modern telling is added to keep it interesting.The second time I saw "The Dinner" I wore my Robert E. Lee T-shirt in the spirit of the movie's depiction of the Battle of Gettysburg. Passing through our liberal college campus to drop off my ballot in the box along the way I remembered that my shirt did have a small Confederate battle flag on the front. But nobody here in Oregon noticed or cared. I suppose it's mainly in the South there was such a furor over it. This film is like that. Although there's a strong suggestion of a linkage to a biblical incident that befell Ham and his offspring, only some people would even notice it or be concerned.Richard Greer was all-in as a politician. Steve Coogan was a so-so "psycho brother"—I've seen scarier psychos. The women exhibited a strong range of emotion. Miscreant children looked bad. The innocent kid s had little acting to do except to be the deer caught in a headlight.The flashbacks are set off by soft lighting. The ending is not emotionally satisfying unless you listen to the closing song all the way through. I found the movie compelling once I got through its boring beginning.
An intelligent interlace of two seemingly disconnected sequence of scenes (by nik-harsha)
As difficult a task as this may sound, one needs to watch this movie a second time in order to appreciate the relevance of most of the scenes that wear you out the first time around. Having watched this movie after dinner get it? , I sat up all night replaying the scenes in my mind, trying to connect the dots in pursuit of some sense. And then it hit me! The Dinner is an intelligent unsure if intentional interlace of two seemingly disconnected sequence of scenes - scenes of the actual food served through the night, and the rest of the movie.The connect is hidden in plain sight throughout <more>
the movie. It is not until the desserts are served, that the movie reveals subtle hints of this connection - the scene of hot caramel making its way through the chocolate egg seemingly to reveal what's truly inside, in a way blends perfectly with the other sequence of scenes that starts to unfold the true personalities of the entire cast. At this point, looking back, one could start to somewhat relate the other courses of food to the scenes of the story that run in parallel - the "young" baby carrots with rosemary polished "black" olives olives signifying victory and rosemary signifying memory and the back story of the two boys picking on Beau when they were much younger, the consistency of various cheeses and the consistency of the characters at the dinner table, and so on. In fact, it is at this point in the movie that Katelyn dramatically reveals her subdued self when she refuses to eat the dessert. And interestingly, this is the only point in the movie when the two sets of scenes blend in just so briefly, when Katelyn's character is showcased not by some back story but by her choice of not wanting to eat the dessert. And this brings us to the crux of the movie - choice! The moral dilemma that intensifies towards the end of the movie revolves around the choices that the cast have made or wish to make. And these choices are based on their beliefs and desires. Paul chooses to throw the ball to avenge his wife's death because he feels that the shopkeeper had killed her by selling her cigarettes. Might this have rubbed off on Michael who chooses to believe that the old lady was at fault for not moving out of his way? Claire sees reason in calling it an accident and in finding fault with the old lady in order to save her son. Katelyn chooses not to support Stan, possibly for the sake of her adopted sons or may be to protect her own marital interests? Dylan believes that the dessert was so unique that it had to be eaten. Each character in the movie fights for the choices they make, based on what they believe is right. While some or us may feel that Stan is right in choosing to go public, some others may feel that it is more important to shield one's family from the mean and insignificant world. Great wars have been fought to back one's sense of righteousness and Gettysburg is highlighted in the movie to depict the fight for democracy.The movie is a subset of everyday moral dilemma. We all fight smaller wars everyday to defend our own morals and to justify our own actions. Kill animals for food or go vegan? Spend on ourselves or save for our children? Outsource IT jobs to lower costs or employee local talent and sell at a higher price? What choices have you made today?
A Complicated Story About Decision Making (by misel982001)
The Dinner is a slow paced film about human relations and decision making. To begin with, the cast excellent and its acting is equivalent of their acclaimed career. Geere performs compellingly a senator whose troubled relationship with his mentally unstable brother Coogan is about to reach a critical point because of a sudden accidental incident about their children. Their wives Linney and Hall are desperately trying to influence their final decisions. This film could also be a play because the story is based on the dialogues and not on scenery change. The script is well written and <more>
coherent while the character depth is very adequate. The final moments of the film will find the audience questioning themselves which decision they would make if they were experiencing the same circumstances. Drawbacks of this film include the slow pace and the sometimes persistent focus on Coogan's character. Despite these it is a worth seeing.
I am usually inclined to give one star rated criticisms to movies that have a dumbed down dialogue often given away by words of few syllables, with lines seldom over seven words or over reliance on cheap unimaginative CGIs or scripts that are a redux of almost countless past productions or just plain not very creative writing and/or acting. I thought this film presented one of those newsy stories we see/hear about every so often of overprivileged kids doing stupid, if not inhumane, acts and getting at least in part away with it e.g. beating a homeless; torturing an animal. The script in <more>
this case is about those kids incinerating a sleeping transient. Meanwhile, in counterpoint, their parents are having a posh expensive over-the-top indulgent garish restaurant dinner, w/cocktails of course the irony of excessiveness to the victim's poverty . The film teases the viewer with a tête-à-tête both within one set of involved parents and then with/between the other set of parents where we are presented with the age old dilemma of turning in your own children for their crime, and the consequences both to them and, of course, the parents. Guessing, but a good many one star reviews may be how closely this theme hit home.