Simon, (Kyle Gallner) the lead singer of an underground punk rock band is in trouble and on the run. He’s short on time with no where to go until he meets Patty (Emily Skeggs), a 20 year old introvert with a family who looks like they came out of a Sears catalog. Patty’s stuck at a dead end job and has an adopted brother who drives her nuts. She has no aspirations and her family holds her back from the person she really wants to be.
Simon and Patty are an unlikely duo. He’s got problems, lots of them. Although Patty is shy and withdrawn she’s able to see Simon for who he really is underneath all of that anger and aggression. Sometimes it takes an outsiders perspective to appreciate someone for who they really are. Their relationship isn’t the healthiest but they’ve met at a time in both of their lives where they’re desperately searching for something more.
Dinner in America is a great example of how to create two completely different characters and make them coexist in the same universe. I love how Writer and Director Adam Rehmeier created this perfectly imperfect balance of light and dark. Although Simon’s problems are quite serious there are several scenes in the film that are quite comedic. The way this story is told is so unique in that although it takes place in the Midwest it could easy take place during a multitude of different time periods and locations. The beauty of the punk scene is that it’s timeless. It started in the 1970’s and still lives on today. It’s had a massive impact on the music we listen to today.
I have a fondness for Patty because I see a little bit of myself in her character. She’s so afraid of taking risks and I think that’s because her parents are holding her back. She’s obviously being medicated and fed information that isn’t true. Imagine being 20 years old and realizing the life you’ve been living is a lie. Simon really opened up her eyes and helped her create a new identity that she has control over. We see this spark in the characters eyes that was so dull and diluted when we first met. Not all character development needs to be over the top to be effective and this film uses this to its advantage.
Dinner in America is a part of Fantasia International Film Festival and is a great film for people who are looking for a story about an unlikely romance created in the suburbs of the Midwest. It’s unique, has character, and is quite entertaining. If you’re in the mood for something a little different this is the film for you.