February 11, 2005

The Secret Lives of Dentists

I watched this on the recommendation of Joshua S., and my initial reaction to it was less than positive. Any film that features teeth being drilled, little girls squealing and young children vomiting, starts out with some big strikes against it. That said, this is a really interesting film. Campbell Scott, Denis Leary and Hope Davis put in some fine work here. The plot couldn’t be more simple. A man fears his wife is having an affair, but doesn’t want to confront her about it. But the execution of that idea is very well done in an occasionally startlingly unique way. It’s a very serious movie about infidelity, relationships, and family. But it’s quirky and inventive at the same time. If it weren’t for the subject matter it could almost be a bit of odd fun. This is something kind of different, but I think it’s well worth checking out. Even the music adds some spice with some unexpected touches – including such a varied mix of tunes as opera, “Fever”, and a couple of clips from The The’s “Dusk” – and the score is generally pretty good.

Posted by armand at February 11, 2005 10:06 AM | TrackBack | Posted to Movies


The "Fever" sequence, featuring Robin Tunney (who I think deserves far more work than she gets) doing cheesy sultry awkwardly well, is a hoot. It's also the moment where this movie most resembles American Beauty, with which it shares numerous similarities.

But evidently there's room for at least one more suburban dystopia flick, because this one goes into my canon -- precisely because its subject matter makes it so grating (the youngest daughter drives the viewer as crazy as she's driving her parents, a difficult and daring effect; and her insistent preference for her father reflects the obvious real-world biases of most children, especially really young ones, for one parent or another, which is something you almost never see portrayed on film). The characters aren't comfortable. Why should the audience be?

Posted by: joshua at February 11, 2005 02:50 PM | PERMALINK
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