Secret Lives Of Dentists

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Movie Review by Ania Kalinowska

Starring: Campbell Scott, Hope Davis, Denis Leary, Robin Tunney, Gianna Beleno

Director: Alan Rudolph

Here’s a link you’ve probably never considered: teeth and marriage have a lot in common. Marriage disintegrates like molars decay; relationships rot and so do gums. Grinding your jaws together isn’t going to ease either situation.

You’ve heard your dentist repeat it to death! A pristine set of pearly whites takes hard work! Keeping them gleaming and healthy is a must. Maintaining an excellent marriage, well, that particular life concern deserves a slightly more complicated approach…

This sparkly indie takes a look at the private life and marital anguish of a dentist. David Hurst (Campbell Scott) and his fellow dentist wife, Dana (Hope Davis), are going through a bad patch. He suspects she might be having an affair, while she feels that they’ve drifted apart and can’t communicate. Their three young daughters are a noisy, draining handful. It’s a good thing this household doesn’t need to worry about dentist bills!

David’s hushed-up attitude to coping with the situation leads to problems on a deeply personal level. His wife’s supposed infidelity (along with the kids, no doubt) is driving him nuts and even results in hallucinations! Being a dentist is certainly not easy, but being a dentist, husband, father, cook, cleaner and nanny? This guy deserves some sort of consolation prize!

THE SECRET LIVES OF DENTISTS is a simple yet intriguing film. Brilliantly scripted and acted, it takes a likely situation and examines its impact on normal specimens who have incredibly real-life reactions. The human experience here is on a level which can be understood by anybody.

It’s an adventure to peep through the windows of the Hurst family home. You get to see the goings on in the bedroom, the kitchen and David’s distraught mind. Offbeat comedy comes at surprising moments and the drama is dished out in moderate doses. Low budget this might be, but the plot, acting and directing shows more than enough flair to make up for it.

If this little gem doesn’t tickle your independent film fancy, it will remind you about that dentist appointment you’ve been so conveniently forgetting…

5 out of 6 stars