The Beauty of the Dinner Scene

What’s so important about a dinner scene? And why would a director waste their time on something so simple? That’s what we’re going to
focus on today, so welcome, to Now You See I- I think dinner scenes are some of the most
powerful and revealing scenes in film. They always show much more than people eating. They show communion. When I say communion, I mean an act of sharing and peace between the people
at the dinner table. Directors use the dinner scene to show us relationships between each
character. How they get along, or how they don’t. But I think even more is going on.
We all know the process of eating a typical dinner. You eat, talk about your day, make
a few jokes, and call it a night. So when a meal goes wrong in a film, we especially
notice because we’re used to dinners going a certain way. And that’s what gives a dinner
scene so much potential, either for humor, or for drama. Let’s look at what dinner scenes can accomplish in three sections: Humans Eat, the Conflict, and The Unexpected Whether you’re a contract killer or a demi-God, you have to eat. And that makes you human. Showing characters eating makes them human, like us. It puts us into their world. It makes us relate with them. We can’t relate to stealing diamonds
or getting shot, but we can relate to getting in an argument at the table. Dinner scenes
make us empathize with characters. Tarantino uses the dinner scene very well in Reservoir
Dogs and Pulp Fiction to pull us into the world of his films. When these characters,
who we just saw have a friendly meal, start getting shot and rob the restaurant, it’s
that much more shocking because we saw them as who they were, people. People who eat just
like we do. When people come together for dinner, it’s
supposed to be a peaceful communion. But it doesn’t always go that way. Dinner scenes
are perfect ways to show conflict. When people storm out break dishes or get left alone that says a lot about the characters without having to tell us. And so a successful meal means just the opposite. Dinner doesn’t always go smoothly. It doesn’t
for us in real life, and it certainly doesn’t for the characters in a movie. Since we can
relate to how awkward a meal can be, it can be that much funnier when a dinner scene doesn’t
go as expected. Or it can be that much more dramatic. To go from the familiar dinner scene to an
alien busting out of somebodies’ chest really adds to the horror. A dinner that’s just a dinner would be boring.
A director wouldn’t waste a scene with something as simple as people eating if it wasn’t
to show something more important. That’s what I love about film. A film doesn’t have
to tell us something. It doesn’t have to tell us “this person doesn’t get along
this person” or “this person is human just like you.” It can show us. Showing rather than telling is what makes a film go from good to great. And a dinner scene can
be quite the show. Thanks for Watching

About the author


  1. Don't you ever, under any circumstances, interrupt Kevin Spacey. Have my subscribe.

  2. Ok I've been subscribed to your channel for a while but never really got into it, but I'm currently binging on your videos and THIS CHANNEL IS GREAT!!!

  3. american beauty has one of the best dinner scenes of all time but my favorite will always be in 10 clover field lane.

  4. Hello man ! thanks for the great channel. I want to add something here , watch Shame 2011 there is a date dinner scene. I think you find it amazing and realistic.

  5. The dinner scene from Sicario is one of the most intense moments in cinema. How did Benicio Del Toro not get nominated for that performance!?

  6. A really good dinner scene is the opening scene of "Misunderstood" it really sets the mood for the entire film.

  7. 2:28 this one second shot of Matthew gray gubler made my entire life… maybe I'm a bit obsessed with him 😅🤤

  8. This explains why I love the dinner scene in the play Macbeth so much. It's supposed to be a happy celebration of Macbeth's coronation, but it is interrupted by assassins and his own delusions that he is seeing banquo's ghost, and it's made all the more intense by Lady Macbeth trying to keep the situation under control. Great video!

  9. Is it true that the actresses in the first clip didn't know Kevin Spacey was going to smash the plates I've heard that.

  10. I'd recommend the Swedish movie "evil" based on the novel by Jan Guillou, it has some excellent dinner scenes and is overall a great movie

  11. The fake orgasm diner scene in When Harry Met Sally. The lunch scene in The Breakfast Club. There's a couple massive family ones in Ricky and the Flash that are soooo uncomfortable omg

  12. Good video although I’d like to point out that including a dinner scene or not isn’t a director’s choice, it’s the writer’s choice (and yes, I know there are a lot of writer-directors). The director decides how it will be executed.

  13. Very well put. I really wish you'd used the dinner scene at the end of Godfather 2. Where Michael gets vocal about his differences with his father. He gets condescending, when Tom says he cares about Michael. Through the scene, while everyone else at the table are being jovial, Michael simply sits there as though he's not part of the conversation. At the end of the scene everyone will have left the table to wish his father on his birthday which we hear in the background. While Michael continues smoking like nothing happened.

  14. Hey, loving your channel, really good content.
    Just a request: could you consider listing the movies you use as examples on the description? Or show the title on the corner while the scene is playing?

  15. the way the table is set, what they’re eating, et cetera tells you a lot as well like financial status, the dynamic of the meal (casual, formal) and the dynamic of the group of characters. if a table is set with crystal and china for a regular dinner, it can say that the group is very traditional, perhaps uptight or overdoing it.

  16. There is an Italian film which is all focused on a dinner scene. It's called "perfetti sconosciuti" in English it translates to "perfect strangers" a really good movie and as I said the dinner table is the focus of the film

  17. Watch the food . The dominant person at the table may be eating some steak or meat. Watch the eyes. Who are they looking at? How long are they looking? Are they looking at anyone at all? In what way are they?
    Replay the scenes over and over again and watch every expression, every meal and even if someone has their hand subtly placed on their knife just in case. Try to understand every moment of activity and compare it to other examples of the scene and your own experiences.

  18. I’m just now realizing every Tarantino movie has a dinner scene.

    Reservoir Dogs: Diner
    Kill Bill: Sushi Restaurant
    Pulp Fiction: Waffle House
    Inglorious Basterds: Nazi Restaurant
    Django: Saloon
    Hateful Eight: Stew Time
    It keeps going…

  19. dinner scene in JP enough said. As kids it was boring shit but as adults you realize how great it was.

  20. He says that if a character is eating the character is human, related to us. So, let me give you an example. In Edward Scissorhand (directed by Tim Burton) there is a dinner scene. Everyone else eats food but Edward can't eat because of his hands. This scene tells us Edward is not human. He dosen't belong here. Despite people's attempts of making him human he can't be.


  22. 2 dinners table scenes that are uproariously funny: "Another Stakeout" and "Bringing Up Baby". Both are laugh out load funny.

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