Late for Dinner
1991 Directed by W.D. Richter. Starring Brian Wimmer, Peter Berg, Marcia Gay Harden, Colleen Flynn, Peter Gallagher.
REVIEWED By Steve Davis, Fri., Sept. 27, 1991
Late for Dinner is a high-concept movie with a lot of heart. Like Francis Ford Coppola's Peggy Sue Got Married, it trips the light fantastic to say something wonderful about the resiliency of love. The springboard for this statement is unquestionably ridiculous: a devoted husband and father and his slow-witted brother-in-law, involuntarily frozen in 1962 by a kindly but misguided doctor experimenting in cryonics, thaw out in 1991 physically unchanged and attempt to resume their lives suspended 29 years ago. Never mind that medical science was not (and still is not) advanced enough to suspend the aging process in 1962; judging this movie on that basis will get you nowhere. Rather, accept the rather convoluted narrative machinations in the film's first half on blind faith, and you'll find your reward in the second half. It is there that Late for Dinner positively radiates, particularly in the scene in which the returning husband -- played with believable earnestness by Wimmer -- tries to convince his wife that the passage of time has not lessened his love for her, regardless of her laugh lines and graying hair. There's a directness in this reunion between husband and wife that says much about the ties that bind. Indeed, director Richter adeptly handles the rather tricky feat of finding all of the right emotions in the film's second half. Although a little rough around the edges initially, Late for Dinner turns out to be the year's most romantic movie, a valentine dedicated to the notion that romance is eternal. As the movie-review cliché goes, see it with someone you love.