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Parents' Guide to

The Dinner

By Jeffrey Anderson, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 17+

Talky, disturbing drama about privilege and morals.

Movie R 2017 120 minutes
The Dinner Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 18+

Based on 4 parent reviews

age 18+

The no end movie

I've never watched a movie that ended so abruptly and with absolute no resolution, not even an attempt at one. It was very disappointing how the movie kept dragging you along as if it was building up to some awakening by the characters. But alas, it was much to do about nothing. Thank goodness I didn't pay any money for this and watched it on Netflix.

This title has:

Too much consumerism
age 18+

Lousy, go nowhere movie. Confusing, frustrating, worst ive seen. I want two hours of my life back

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (4 ):
Kids say (1 ):

Though it's admirably complex and intelligent, this talky drama quickly gives way to exasperation as its relentlessly irritating, chronically demoralizing parts pile up to form a bleak whole. Based on a novel by Herman Koch, The Dinner puts several issues on the table, including mental illness, splintering family units, politics, history, and the morals of the privileged class, as well as the concept of "affluenza." But, perhaps in an effort to artificially build suspense, the movie hides what it's really up to, using flashbacks and asides as distraction, rather than illumination.

Director Oren Moverman and star Gere previously collaborated on the equally bleak but enormously cinematic and moving Time Out of Mind, and Moverman's earlier works like The Messenger were likewise simple, profound explorations of human tragedy. The Dinner is far too cluttered and stagnant to achieve the same effect. The entire movie is talking, with the four main characters each occasionally storming away from the table to argue in pairs. Garish lighting and frustrating sound effects (phone alerts are constantly heard) only help escalate the film's mood of hopeless hostility.

Movie Details

  • In theaters: May 5, 2017
  • On DVD or streaming: August 8, 2017
  • Cast: Steve Coogan , Richard Gere , Laura Linney
  • Director: Oren Moverman
  • Inclusion Information: Female actors
  • Studio: The Orchard
  • Genre: Drama
  • Run time: 120 minutes
  • MPAA rating: R
  • MPAA explanation: disturbing violent content, and language throughout
  • Last updated: June 20, 2023

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