Emily Skeggs

Nightstream Capsule Review: Dinner in America

Another smash hit from Nightstream Fest from writer and director Adam Rehmeier (Jonas, The Bunny Game) is Dinner in America. Readers who have followed my reviews might be surprised to see this film on my website as it’s definitely not a horror film. The fact I saw it and felt compelled to write this review should be an indicator of how much I adored it. Dinner in America follows a punk-rocker who unwittingly seeks the help of a young woman, who is obsessed with his band, for help in hiding from the cops.

The entire film is quirky, raunchy, and delightful. Both of the leads, Kyle Gallner (The Haunting in Connecticut, Jennifer’s Body) as Simon and Emily Skeggs (Mile 22, The Miseducation of Cameron Post) as Patty, deliver phenomenal performances and are a joy to watch. It’s impossible not to fall in love with both of them as they fall in love with an “us against the world” attitude. Some of the language may be off-putting to some viewers as there are racial, homophobic, and other slurs used, but for the most part they are said by characters the audience is meant to hate and this only strengthens that hatred. In the beginning of Dinner in America, Gallner’s character uses some of this language as well, but it becomes clear Simon says it to get a rise out of people and distance himself from others. Once those walls are broken down, his language changes.

Since this is a punk rock film, it’s only natural that it would have appropriate visuals and music. The Midwestern, suburban backdrop where it’s almost impossible to tell if it’s 1990 or 2020 emphasizes the fact that Simon and Patty are outsiders in this place. Everyone else is pristine in clean-cut outfits, track suits, and pastels, but the lovers are dressed in uncoordinated and grittier clothes. Then there is the music. Let’s just say, the music is so great that I immediately went online after watching the film to see if I could buy it anywhere (I couldn’t find it yet, in case you were wondering). Between the performances, the plot, and the music, I couldn’t stop smiling during this fantastic film. Dinner in America is charming, hilarious, and the perfect love story for outcasts everywhere.

OVERALL RATING: 9.5/10