“We can’t be direct, so we end up saying the weirdest things.”
When a struggling playwright (Wallace Shawn) meets an old friend (Andre Gregory) for dinner, a surprisingly rich conversation ensues.
Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:
- Get Togethers and Reunions
- Louis Malle Films
Response to Peary’s Review:
Peary begins his review of this Louis Malle-directed film (co-written by Shawn and Gregory) by admitting he’s “0 for 2 at staying awake through the entire talk-a-thon”, but he eventually admits that “the two men are engaging, and much [of the] conversation is funny and/or incisive”. He writes that “anyone who has been to a party of artistes can identify with Shawn”, who at first “feigns interest” and “asks follow-up questions so he doesn’t have to contribute to the conversation”, but eventually “joins the intellectual discourse”. I’m only partially in agreement with Peary that it’s “hard to maintain interest through Gregory’s long monologues”, and in general am more enthusiastic about the film than Peary seems to be. The friends’ conversation feels both authentic and provocative, representing the type of perspective-shifting discourse that one occasionally longs for. Gregory’s soul-searching adventures (oh my, the stories he tells!) are perfectly indicative of the Baby Boomer “me” generation run amok, and nicely balanced by Shawn’s more grounded philosophy of finding joy in seemingly mundane moments. By the end of this meaty discussion, you can’t help feeling like you’ve been asked to take a deep look at your own perspective on life, happiness, and the search for meaning.
Redeeming Qualities and Moments:
- A fine screenplay and natural, engaging performances
Yes, once, as an oddly compelling cinematic venture.