Tom's Recommended Film of the Week
Dan in Real Life
Dan in Real Life
is a film that I think most anyone can enjoy. My wife and I watched it together and that's no small trick. Normally our tastes differ so much that finding a film we both want to see is next to impossible, but each of us had decided independently that we wanted to see Dan in Real Life. So we watched it - I loved it, she like it, we both enjoyed the evening.
It wasn't until the credits got going that I realized Dan in Real Life was directed by Peter Hedges, the author of What's Eating Gilbert Grape. I used to sell books to Carole Hedges, Peter's mother, a good number of years ago. A year or so before the film version of What's Eating Gilbert Grape, staring Leonard Di Caprio and Johnny Depp, was released, Carole and I met in New York for cheese cake. When she mentioned that her son was an author, I said I would have to read his book. She said I might have trouble finding a copy before the film release and offered to try and get me a copy. A few weeks later a lovely dust jacketed first edition of What's Eating Gilbert Grape arrived with a warm inscription from Peter Hedges. It's an excellent novel from an outstanding author and a cherished volume in my personal library.
For Dan in Real Life, Peter both wrote and directed and his gental humorous touch is present in every frame. Casting is near perfection in this film, with Steve Carell, Juliette Binoche, Dane Cook, Dianne Wiest and John Mahoney all in central roles. The story offers the humor of discomfort, but is set in the warm and sensitive environment of family. The kitchen scene with Dianne Wiest, John Mahoney and Steve Carell just cracked me up! The DVD also offers a number of excellent and highly recommended extras. I enjoyed hearing some of Peters perspectives on directing, as well as many of the actors perspectives on Peter as a director.
The dialogue is wonderful and delivered at a streaming yet natural pace and the situational comedy is both touching and outrageous in turns. Peter did a great job with this film and I will be looking forward to more unique stories from him in the future.