What Ever Happened to Dinner? Image

What Ever Happened to Dinner?

By Alan Ng | May 10, 2024

Strap in because we’re about to take a slow roller coaster ride into the lives of one of an incredibly dysfunctional family in Cydney Griffin’s dramatic feature, What Ever Happened to Dinner?

Writer/director Griffin hits the ground running as mother of two Wendy (Camille Calvin), is waiting on news from her doctor about a potentially life-threatening situation…cancer. Knowing that life could possibly change, Wendy is determined to bring her disjointed family together for a pasta dinner to tell them the news. The only people who know about Wendy’s situation are her sister and mother, Ellen (Michelle Harvey).

Getting the family together isn’t going to be easy. Husband Jack (Marcus Ray) has worked a long day and just wants to lock himself in his office and “relax” on his computer. The youngest son, Dan (Joshua Frazier), locks himself in his room with phone and headphones in hand, and his teen daughter, Melissa (Andrea Reid), is in the middle of her high school elections.

Wendy’s attempt to have a family dinner to drop the news about her health is met with level-ten resistance from everyone. Now add the fact that the gas has been turned off because Jack didn’t pay the bill, and Wendy’s mother insists on coming over to clean up her mess; this dinner is in serious trouble.

“Wendy is determined to bring her disjointed family together for a pasta dinner…”

What filmmaker Cydney Griffin does so well in What Ever Happened to Dinner is make family dysfunction feel all too real. It might be triggering to the weak of heart. As Wendy, Camille Calvin is front and center, and we live in her shoes and feel each moment. Every heartbreaking moment, every sign of disrespect from her children, husband, and mother, we bear the enormous weight of a woman whose life is about to unravel right in front of our eyes.

At an indie level, the film feels cathartic. You pick your friends, but you can’t pick your family. There’s an odd dynamic with family where, at times, you want to be brutally honest while at the same time maintaining peace. This is your opportunity to scream in the privacy of your own home, knowing that you are not alone.

Making a drama like What Ever Happened to Dinner is like conducting an orchestra of emotions. Writer/director Griffin gets right into the symphony with Wendy’s impending diagnosis. From here, Griffin plucks those strings and this dark song of love. Griffin then builds and builds that tension into a final devastating crescendo. That’s what making movies is all about.

Sure, in this indie symphonic tale, the musicians aren’t exactly wearing tuxes and evening gowns, but it’s not always about the packaging; it’s the emotion you feel from this stellar cast.

What Ever Happened to Dinner? (2024)

Directed and Written: Cydney Griffin

Starring: Camille Calvin, Marcus Ray, Andrea Reid, Joshua Frazier, Michelle Harvey, etc.

Movie score: 8/10

What Ever Happened to Dinner? Image

"…like conducting an orchestra of emotions."

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