Directed by Alan Rudolph, starring Campbell Scott, Hope Davis, Robin Tunney and Dennis Leary.
Teeth, and how we care for them, are used as a metaphor for married life in this interpretation of how a couple deal with the stress of marriage breakdown and raising three young daughters.
David Hurst (Scott) seems like a happy man. He runs a joint dental practice with his wife, Dana (Davis), and is enjoying raising his young family in suburbia.
He sees his marriage like teeth, controllable and durable if cared for and treated in the correct manner. However, all this changes when he is confronted by an unsatisfied patient called Mr Slater (Leary), who refuses to have his wisdom teeth treated until he starts to feel pain.
This soon turns out to be the least of his worries as he spies his wife sharing an intimate, possibly loving, moment with another man. David's world collapses as he is unsure whether or not his wife is cheating on him.
He begins seeing visions of Mr Slater giving him advice on his relationship as he grows increasingly frustrated by it, but he still refuses to address the situation with his wife. In a thinly-veiled comparison with Slater's wisdom teeth, David only confronts the situation when his whole family suffers a bout of the 'flu over a five-day period.
'The Secret Lives of Dentists' is excellently scripted and acted. Director Alan Rudolph is able to enrage the audience by highlighting the reluctance of David to address the failings of his marriage, and Campbell Scott is at home in that same character. Even the ending, which will leave most viewers unsatisfied, highlights his inability to deal with his marriage the way he deals with the rest of his life.
The imagery is second to none and we can clearly see the relationship that each parent has with their children mirroring their relationship with each other. Additionally David's relationship with Slater changes as his own frustration at being unable to address his wife's infidelity increases.
'The Secret Lives of Dentists' is a different take on marital breakdown that will leave you pondering your own relationships in a very different way.