My Dinner with Andre ★★★★½

My Dinner with André is that phenomenal conversation you had with that one friend years ago that you still think about and consider one of your most connected moments on this earth. Wallace and Andre’s conversation simulates those invigorating and immensely gratifying moments of connection that come few and far in between; they discuss their lifelong quests for firm earth in growing fervor and passion, becoming swept away and forgetting all else if only for a dinner.

In this evening of words, the pair tackle such massive, difficult topics as religion, existence, the humanistic function of both traditional and experimental theater, living with the earth, extrasensory perception, and just genuine reflections of their contemporaneous states. The trick is that they do this in a seamless manner which renders the viewer as voyeur: it is not often that a film’s only setting is a blue chip Manhattan restaurant, yet it completely works.

An overarching theme I’ve started to notice in Wes Anderson’s work is his tendency to stage and direct actors in ways that they go back to a childhood state: the state of innocence before the mounting pressures of life rendered dreams of our youth as impractical or inconvenient. Andre’s story of directing an instinctive Beehive in the Polish forest hits this mark with beautiful simplicity, in which he articulates the unnecessary function of a shared language in this endeavor.

A wholehearted, unpretentious, and (above all else) humanistic work, this film as well as its screenplay are singular experiences. If you want to grapple with what it is to live in this modern age, developed akin to a more poignant, simple Kaufman film in the spirit of Dharma Bums by Kerouac, then My Dinner with André will resonate in a way that is simply impossible for the vast majority of films to achieve.

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