Starring: Emily Skeggs and Kyle Gallner
Directed and Written by: Adam Rehmeier
Dinner in America is not a conventional story. I found myself halfway through the film wondering where it was going with the characters. At that moment, I thought the story was just beginning and that all I had just watched was fluff. But as I continued watching, the opening began to make more sense as I let it color the world of the characters.
The first half of the film establishes the context of the environment in which the characters call home. The exposition presented here makes the second half of the film more compelling, heartfelt, and real. I have to admit that as I watched the beginning of the movie, I was worried it would turn into something basic with surface level actions, emotions and with nothing remotely deep. Happily, I was wrong.
Simon (Kyle Gallner) and Patty (Emily Skeggs) end up having a more sincere bond than I originally anticipated, and it feels real, not rushed or painted on for some comedic effect. While this movie is funny for sure, there is something pure about the story. The connection between Simon and Patty feels real and unbothered by what outsiders may think. While Simon is running from the law, and may seem so different from Patty from the outside, they are more similar than most would predict. That message is at the core of the story and I am a fan of that message.
After I finished watching Dinner in America, I found myself writing several pages on why I liked it so much. The story started out as ordinary, and I patiently waited for it to pick up. By the end of the film, I observed that the pace at the start of the film is what made the second half more fulfilling and successful in my mind.
With so many movies made these days, it can feel like a mechanical copy and paste machine. Nothing original: change the characters’ names, the genders, the location, and add a few side kicks for added humor. But this movie is different. I think that’s why it left me feeling the way it did. I hadn’t watched anything like it before.
Also, to the screenwriter, Adam Rehmeier, thanks for making the characters over 18. It would have felt strange watching this if the characters were still in high school. The fact that they are adults matters a lot in my perspective.
Some parts of the story are slow and some scenes are not necessarily needed to advance the plot. But I view it as an independent film with more creative liberty than most films heavily marketed on streaming services. Maybe those extra scenes meant something to the writer, maybe when I watch the film again (which I will) I will be clued in on their extended meaning.
You can watch this film on Hulu.
Thanks for reading,