American Pastoral

2016

Crime / Drama

55
Rotten Tomatoes Critics - Rotten 23%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Spilled 37%
IMDb Rating 6.1 10 10514

Synopsis


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Director

Cast

Dakota Fanning as Merry Levov
Rupert Evans as Jerry Levov
Jennifer Connelly as Dawn Levov
Ewan McGregor as Swede Levov
720p.BLU 1080p.BLU
789.18 MB
1280*534
English
R
23.976 fps
1hr 48 min
P/S 1 / 31
1.64 GB
1920*800
English
R
23.976 fps
1hr 48 min
P/S 5 / 25

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by David Ferguson 6 / 10

the end of idealism

Greetings again from the darkness. Tackling one of the great American novels is a difficult challenge for even the most seasoned film directors … and a dubious undertaking (at best) for a first-timer. Philip Roth won a Pulitzer Prize for his 1997 novel "American Pastoral", and there have been rumblings of a Hollywood production for more than a decade. It's somewhat surprising that the screen version is directed by first time director Ewan McGregor … with the Scottish actor also taking on the lead role of local Jersey boy and sports hero Seymour "Swede" Levov.

The story examines the cracks behind the façade of a seemingly perfect family … the sports hero marrying the beauty queen. Of course, there is always more going on within a family than most care to admit (at least that was the case in the days prior to Facebook). There's an early scene where Swede has introduced Dawn (Jennifer Connelly) to his father (Peter Riegert), and the philosophical and religious differences perfectly capture the changing times and mores from one generation to the next. Never has this been more true than the late 1960's and early 1970's … political and social upheaval were daily occurrences – and sometimes quite violent.

The first half of the movie is exceptionally well done and captures the essence of why the second half feels like a total decimation of everything Swede thought he had. He and Dawn's daughter Merry is beautiful and feisty and stutters … something that only enhances the anger she expresses and anguish she causes for her parents. Her innocent questions as a young child evolve into radical political beliefs and affiliations as she grows up.

Merry (ironically named) is by far the most interesting character in the story, but with the focus on Swede, Dakota Fanning only has brief moments that are worthy of her talent, and Dawn has only a few emotional moments that allow Ms. Connelly to flash the acting depth she hasn't shown in years. So much time and attention is devoted to Swede that the second half is a bit of a letdown and leaves too many details and questions unanswered.

John Romano's (The Lincoln Lawyer) adaptation of the American classic took a different direction than we might have preferred, but it's a thankless job since so many have considered this as unfilmable. McGregor shows a good eye as a director, though it's obvious this material needed a more experienced filmmaker at the helm. The great Alexandre Desplat provides a classy score … the piano pieces are especially well suited. Supporting work is solid from David Strathairn as narrator Nathan Zuckerman, Rupert Evans as Swede's brother, Molly Parker as Merry's therapist, Uzo Aduba as Swede's employee, and Valorie Curry as a misguided revolutionary. It's a reminder that family dynamics may be the most complex organism, and when blended with the volatile times of the Vietnam War, a generational gap should be expected … even if it's difficult and emotional to accept.

Reviewed by bkoganbing 7 / 10

Some truly radical politics

American Pastoral a fine flashback look at the 60s and how the events of the day affected one upper middle class family. The father is Ewan MacGregor the star athlete who married teen beauty queen Jennifer Connelly and looked like they were heading for the golden future. They're from Newark and MacGregor now manages the family business which is a leather goods factory in Newark. But they move out to the suburbs of Morris County.

First off it's a mixed marriage with Jewish MacGregory marrying a Shiksa in Connelly. They have one child a daughter Dakota Fanning who growing up in the 60s sees what's going on around her and gets into some truly radical politics. Her parents are traditional liberal Democrats.

Something she does makes her a fugitive. The rest of the film is MacGregor and Connelly's agonized family traditions are blown apart. They want to understand their child and want her back. But that can never be.

This film is adapted from a Philip Roth novel and Roth drew his characters well as this was an era he and I both grew up in.

Besides the main characters I would single out Peter Riegert's performance as MacGregor's father and Valerie Curry who has embraced totally Weatherman style radicalism. Her scenes with MacGregor who is trying to find his fugitive daughter just crackle with intensity.

A real portrait of an era in America we're still trying to understand.

Reviewed by rockman182 6 / 10

American Pastoral (2016)

I really like the Fanning sisters so I'll basically watch anything with them. I was also curious about this film because its the directional debut of Ewan McGregor. I went in blind not knowing what the film would bring but it seemed to have a strong cast, and for the little buzz it generated it remained something that I really wanted to check out. I think its a solid debut for McGregor as a filmmaker but can't escape being too dull at times.

The film is based on a novel about a family with a daughter with a speech impediment. She witnesses a traumatic scene of the infamous monk setting himself on fire in television. After this childhood incident Merry (Fanning's character) becomes a radical opponent of war. She starts out vehemently opposing Lyndon Johnson and the war efforts but eventually becomes the culprit in a murder after a bomb goes off. Swede (Ewan McGregor) spends most of the film trying to find his estranged daughter and find out why she is the way she is.

I think the film has strong performances as you would expect from the cast of this caliber. You immediately see the disenchantment of youth in Fanning's character and understand how radical she is in her anti-war stance. Her pained relationship with her mother is stated quite well, and the uncomfortably in it drives her mother mad. I had no problems with the character interactions, however the film cannot escape feeling dull and prolonged. You don't care enough to follow Swede as he tries to find his daughter, and when you finally find her, its just very underwhelming.

Its hard to care for Fanning's character as she's unlikable from the get go. The film doesn't offer much else outside of a quest for a character you'd rather remain lost. The method of storytelling does not always prosper as it goes through periods of stalling and the payoff isn't really entertaining. It gets very lost in an antiwar shuffle and remains shallow despite trying to go deep. I'd say its exciting to see McGregor get behind the camera but his first adaptation does not have enough life.

6/10

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