The Secret Lives of Dentists

Alan Rudolph’s new film is about a crumbling marriage between two dentists (Campbell Scott and Hope Davis) and an acrid imaginary friend (Denis Leary). (1 hr. 44 mins.; R) — BILGE EBIRI

Opens August 1
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Spotlight: Director Alan Rudolph
Skip the melodrama—let’s take an x-ray of real married life” is how director Alan Rudolph says he approached The Secret Lives of Dentists. “Let’s strip the roof off their home and see what we find.” In Rudolph’s twenty-first film, Campbell Scott and Hope Davis play husband-and-wife dentists whose communication breakdown has possibly prompted her to stray, and has certainly caused him to see a wicked manifestation of his id in a friend (Denis Leary). “Denis gives voice to that secret life we all share,” Rudolph says. “You’re at a friend’s house for dinner and don’t like the meal. What Denis does very well is throw that plate against the wall.” Rudolph began his career in the mid-seventies, assisting and writing for Robert Altman, and although he’s written and directed such films as Investigating Sex, Afterglow, and Choose Me, he’s hardly had an easy time of it. “I live film-to-mouth. I had a place in New York, but I sold it because there was an important element missing in my life—cash.” It was Campbell Scott, who starred in Rudolph’s Mrs. Parker and the Vicious Circle, who gave him this script. “It was a hugely exhilarating experience,” Rudolph says. “This happened to be about a subject close to my heart—I’ve been happily married for decades, and I’m still trying to figure her out.”


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