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.
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.