My Dinner with Hervé airs October 20th on HBO.
[Ed. Note: Being that TV and City is on a bit of a hiatus, this article has not been edited.]
By Chris Flanagan
Sometimes the truth can be so crazy that it can seem beyond belief.
In the case of My Dinner with Hervé, the truth is both captivating and desolate but tells a deeper story of how poorly pre-judgments can be improperly used to define a person’s life and if given time can be stripped away to reveal someone’s true nature.
My Dinner with Hervé is the story of journalist Danny Tate’s wild night with former celebrity, Hervé Villechaize, the dwarf from The Man with the Golden Gun and Fantasy Island, as he attempts to tell his story, the real one, in contrast to what was previously known or believed about him. In what begins as a typical puff piece meant to take up space on a page for the magazine Tate works for, the reality of the situation turns out to be a much deeper story centering around adversity, misconception, pain, and loss. The film dangles these concepts in front of you like a carrot for much of the first and second acts as it always eludes to arriving at this destination of truth and raw honesty but never really getting there until the two counterpart’s time together reaches a close. Writer/Director Sasha Gervase’s approach to this delivery of narrative can be frustrating at times, however, the conclusion is well worth the wait and never lacks for exciting and comical moments along the way to see you through to its emotional conclusion.
Much like the movie’s titular character, the story is charming and yet takes time to warm up to but all the while possessing something that prevents your eyes from leaving the screen. In part, this is due to Peter Dinklage’s incredible ability to dive headfirst into the character and emerge as an eerily similar version of Hervé that manages to nail Vilechaize’s iconic French accent and push Peter Dinklage, the actor, into the background allowing you to only see Hervé the entire time. The movie’s third act is its strongest drawing deep from the emotional well of not only Hervé but also Tate and the pain his mistakes in life have brought him. Both connect over this issue which gives way to an authentic honesty that gives them the ability to truly see the other for who they really are and who they have tried to be. This goes beyond just an emotional chord being struck between two unlikely souls during an interview but in their relationship displays a universal, yet unspoken, truth that everyone secretly hopes to experience – an honest and raw connection with another person that shows who you are without judgment.
My Dinner with Hervé gives that and more, albeit, in a disjointed way that nevertheless tells a compelling story of someone’s misunderstood life that is accurately captured by a stranger in a fleeting moment. Its intimate portrayal of an unbelievable story bordering on the surreal is equally exasperating as it is charming but even as your interest might wane, the truth, Hervé’s truth, is worth sticking around until the end to discover.
I give My Dinner with Hervé a B+.