NPJ Book Review: My Dinner with Andre by Wallace Shawn


Films affect me in different ways. There are a few I like to watch a second time. The film/book, Dinner with Andre by Wallace Shawn (1994) is one of them. The book brings a smile to my face as does the movie. If you read the paperback also see the film. Wallace Shawn and Andre Gregory from my perspective are brilliant if you can handle two people in conversation and watching them dine.

In a conversation over dinner with his friend, Andre Gregory; Wallace and Gregory offer thought-provoking insights into human nature, the robotic age we live in and the existential quality of human existence. The story and the film doesn’t rely on comic book high technologies and violent action to make a statement.

The dinner as a fellowship is stimulating and a bit surrealistic (and I am a fan of surrealism) at times while inquiring into the issues and critiques we face each day from politics to art, theater, nationalism, morality and so forth. At one point Andre suggests that people themselves have become the guards of the prison in which they created. It’s a dystopian look at where we existed leading up to the 90’s and today over two decades later as we struggle to be optimistic, fair-minded and pragmatic about our future.

I felt as a reader and viewer I was at their table and privy to their delightful and provocative dinner conversation.

PS: have an appetizer and a glass of wine while partaking.