The Secret Lives Of Dentists | Official Movie Website
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The Secret Lives of Dentists Movie Review

sldThe Secret Lives of Dentists is a movie based on a short story that author Jane Smile wrote. Alan Rudolph directed the movie that featured Campbell Scott, who played the Dentist David Hurst, Hope Davis, who played the loving wife Dana, and Cassidy Hinkle, Gianna Beleno, and Lydia Jordan, who played the three daughters.

The movie starts with scenes showing how the two main characters, David and Dana, met each other, got together, and started a married life. They have a happy family and David is practicing dentistry as his profession. However, the plot started to thicken when the conflict of the movie is unraveled in the next scenes.


Primarily, the major conflict is Dana having an illicit affair with another man. Her husband saw her with the man but David chose to remain silent and do nothing about it. He chose to do so because he was thinking that she will still go back to him at the end of the day. Confronting her with what he saw might cause Dana to leave the house, which David didn’t want to happen.

David is a faithful husband and a really good father. At the same time, he is also an inward and quiet man. His wife Dana has said in one scene, “you scare me a little.” She was pertaining to him and wishes that they were closer. This, while she is having an affair with another man.

The conflict may hit close to home with some. It’s been seen in many movies but the way it was narrated and the way the artists played their roles keep the audience interested. Scott, particularly, was successful in portraying a quiet and non-confrontational type of husband.

Plot Development

After seeing his wife with a man, he also had a bad day at the community opera when a cocky patient humiliated him in the public. Slater, David’s patient who is actually fearful but masks it with hostility, doesn’t like dentists. In the community opera, Slater told the public that David is not a good dentist. He added that David is a lousy dentist because the filling he did to Slater dropped out.

The next scenes highlight a family that undergoes a crisis, which were portrayed with fantasy and realism as an approach. While David and Dana were having heightened tension between them, they were also faced with the decision to diagnose or not their three children. Amidst all these, there are also scenes that show the family eating sumptuous meals, expressing love for each other, and planning the next weekend. In addition, Slater also transforms into an imaginary guest in David’s mind. Slater pops out in the kitchen, in the dining room or under the bed to give David some ill advice.


The movie presents an everyday family crisis while the director incorporates fantasy to articulate to the audience what’s happening inside a problematic husband’s mind. Many couples and even children can learn valuable lessons from it!




Chlotrudis Awards 2004
Best Actor: Campbell Scott
Best Adapted Screenplay: Craig Lucas
Independent Spirit Awards 2004
Best Supporting Female: Hope Davis
National Board of Review, USA 2003
Special Recognition
For excellence in filmmaking.
National Society of Film Critics Awards, USA 2004
2nd place
Best Actress: Hope Davis
For American Splendor
3rd place
NSFC Award – Best Screenplay: Craig Lucas
New York Film Critics Circle Awards 2003
Best Actress: Hope Davis
For American Splendor
Best Screenplay: Craig Lucas