Directed by Norman Jewison and adapted by Donald Margulies from his Pulitzer Prize-winning play, this acclaimed HBO production offers a welcome antidote to the superficiality of mainstream Hollywood. With the same attention to emotional detail that he brought to Moonstruck, Jewison establishes a delicate balance of anguish and bittersweet humor, reaching peak intensity as two couples confront the aftershocks of infidelity. Dennis Quaid and Andie MacDowell play the steady pair, committed to surviving every marital peak and valley. Greg Kinnear and Toni Collette are splitting up, divided by his infidelity and forced to reevaluate connections to their long-term friends. While Jewison and cinematographer Roger Deakins expertly translate the stagy material, the revealing, nonjudgmental quality of Margulies's dialogue inspires excellence from this quartet of underrated actors. Funny, painful, and full of truth, Dinner with Friends presents marriage as an organic work in progress, never to be taken for granted, and never guaranteed. --Jeff Shannon
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