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Overall Rating

Awesome: 15.79%
Worth A Look52.63%
Average: 8.77%
Pretty Bad: 12.28%
Total Crap: 10.53%

4 reviews, 33 user ratings

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Secret Lives of Dentists, The
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by Katharine Leis

"Ordinary made interesting"
4 stars

The pitch for this film probably would not have sold too many tickets. A husband and wife are dentists who share a practice and have three small children. The husband suspects his wife is cheating on him. This sounds more like a description of your neighbors, but proved to be a solid film with themes that most can relate to, and many can learn from.

The Secret Lives of Dentists begins in upper suburbia, with the American dream couple. Respectable jobs, good incomes, nice house, and three beautiful children. The couple, David and Dana Hurst (played by Campbell Scott and Hope Davis) have reached the goals they worked so hard for, and by all external accounts have achieved happiness.
Soon enough, Dana seems to feel ignored as she tries to share her love of the opera with her family, who are more interested in what's for dinner.
Dana sings in a local opera while the family watches, seemingly more out of courtesy than of want. It is just before this performance that David sees an interaction between his wife and another man which causes him to wonder if she is having an affair.
In the theater, a patient of David's named Slater (Dennis Leary) makes some obnoxious comments to David causing a bit of a spectacle.
From that point on, Slater becomes an inner voice of brutal and coarse honesty that David imagines and speaks to in an attempt to understand why his perfect life is not so perfect.
The actresses who played the daughters in the film were as fantastic as their adult counterparts. They also served to be the real life counter-conscience of Slater in David's attempts to rethink his life.
Sharp directing in the form of flashbacks, imagined scenes, and a steady but never slow pace allows the audience to really empathize with David, and witness the flood of thoughts that suddenly encompass his daily life.
It may even serve as a softer version of "Unfaithful," much less heart pounding but much more realistic.

While it may not satisfy the CGI explosion or groin joke loving audience, there are definitely lessons to be learned in this powerful yet understated film.

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originally posted: 05/15/04 15:57:21
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OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2003 Sundance Film Festival. For more in the 2003 Sundance Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2003 Philadelphia Film Festival. For more in the 2003 Philadelphia Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2003 Sydney Film Festival. For more in the 2003 Sydney Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2003 Seattle Film Festival. For more in the 2003 Seattle Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2003 San Francisco Film Festival. For more in the 2003 San Francisco Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

6/26/09 robert petrie It's ok. 3 stars
8/17/06 j_movie_man Worst movie ever! so bad, i had to write a bad comment 1 stars
4/29/06 Scott HOW did they get those family scenes so REAL? A beautiful, subtle work, perfectly acted. 5 stars
5/11/05 jimm denna ddddddd 1 stars
5/11/05 Sully simply a horseshit movie. Acting was fine, writing blew. 1 stars
1/09/05 Sam Charming and entertaining 5 stars
8/02/04 Phil M. Aficionado There was something aggravating about it, sort of like a sore tooth. But well acted. 3 stars
3/16/04 Juli superb acting, makes u think 4 stars
11/08/03 john scenes supberb 5 stars
10/09/03 Lewis Sordid patient in the imagination of unlikeable dentist seeks to undermine his marriage 2 stars
9/22/03 Hank Great film. Didn't see the last 10 minutes due to lightning shutting down electricity 4 stars
9/21/03 Adrienne Very true to the way some dentists are--my Dad is one. Worth opening your mind to. 4 stars
9/15/03 Johnny Captivating and real, a thoughtful look into the passive aggresive mind 4 stars
9/11/03 carlmzapffe Typical view of dentists as miserably unhappy people 3 stars
9/10/03 Annette Bonder I loved it 4 stars
9/03/03 Nancy Markoff I found the moving boring, disturbing, pooring written, difficult to sit through, horrible. 1 stars
9/03/03 Jennifer we loved it 4 stars
9/01/03 s king He is pathetic as he races passively agressively through his boring life. She is absultlly 4 stars
8/31/03 Larry What crap!!...30 minutes of influenza and vomiting... 1 stars
8/27/03 shannon compelling, funny, very real and adult. amazing! 5 stars
8/27/03 Maria I have never seen a movie that has sucked so bad. There was no point in the whole movie! 1 stars
8/22/03 marvin sicherman actors + child actors fabulous, nice deep sometime funny portrayal of family life, 5 stars
8/21/03 Bob Klein Worth seeing. An adult movie, at last! 4 stars
8/20/03 =Paula= its got me thinking.... marriage might not be for me 3 stars
8/18/03 arthur appel interesting movie good story which is probably more common than not. 4 stars
8/06/03 patti cappell very provocative...dennis leary was hysterical! 5 stars
7/31/03 Mo Sack Dentistry Kubrick style 4 stars
7/31/03 Chris Concannon Double dose of reality 5 stars
7/31/03 Guadalupe Concannon Great movie 4 stars
7/27/03 Susan Kaplan Great performance by Campbell Scott 4 stars
7/02/03 Trent Windsor Amazing, Robin Tunney is absolutely stunning!!! 5 stars
5/01/03 Ralph R. Clemente I don't know - average 3 stars
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  01-Aug-2003 (R)
  DVD: 20-Jan-2004



Directed by
  Alan Rudolph

Written by
  Craig Lucas

  Campbell Scott
  Hope Davis
  Denis Leary
  Robin Tunney

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