My Dinner with Andre (1981)


Biography, Comedy, Drama


Louis Malle




Wallace Shawn, Andre Gregory, Jean Lenauer, Roy Butler


Old friends Andre (Andre Gregory) and Wally (Wallace Shawn) meet for dinner and while one tells anecdotes detailing his experiences, the other notices their differing views.


If someone were to ask me about "My Dinner with Andre" the first thing that'd pop up in my mind would be that it is not a film for everybody. To be honest, it is a film for a small group of people, the kind of people who are willing to really commit to a film. That said, I would also say that it is a brilliant cinematic experiment.

This is the kind of film that doesn't have a plot; the kind of film where nothing happens, literally. There are just two old friends talking for nearly two hours, and it's their job to entertain the viewer with that only. And both Wallace Shawn and Andre Gregory, who are both playing themselves, do a hell of a job. Only two fantastic storytellers would be able to entertain with a very long philosophical conversation. Seeing those two doing nothing but talking, and doing it in such a natural and charming way is beyond fascinating.

It's probably because it isn't the typical, mundane conversation between two old friends, but way more than that. French filmmaker Louis Malle used this film to discuss the meaning of life, how people choose to live it, and in particular how these two men interpret their lives.

Which brings me to the characters. Wally is just a simple guy who tries to enjoy the simple things in life; Andre, on the other hand, is a little (a lot) pretentious and seeks for meaning in grand adventures and more than once he gives the impression of exaggerating when telling his stories. The differences between these two men and the confrontation of their opinions are what makes "My Dinner with Andre" so interesting. And will make it stick to you for a while after you're done watching.

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