27 November 2017

American Pastoral

American Pastoral 2016
  • Director: Ewan MacGregor
  • Based on the book by Philip Roth. Screenplay by John Romano
  • Cast: Ewan MacGregor, Jennifer Connelly, Dakota Fanning, Peter Riegert, Rupert Evans, Uzo Aduba, Molly Parker, Valerie Curry, Hannah Nordberg, David Strathairn
  • Personal “oh yeah him/her” reaction, i.e. have seen this actor in:
    • Ewan MacGregor – Mortdecai, August Osage County, The Impossible, Salmon Fishing in the Yemen, Perfect Sense, The Ghost Writer, The Island, Star Wars, Big Fish, Young Adam, Moulin Rouge, Little Voice, Velvet Goldmine, A Life Less Ordinary, Brassed Off, Trainspotting, Shallow Grave
    • Jennifer Connelly – Winter’s Tale, Creation, He’s Just Not that Into You, The Day the Earth Stood Still, Blood Diamond, House of Sand and Fog, A Beautiful Mind, Pollock, Requiem for a Dream
    • Dakota Fanning – The Runaways, War of the Worlds, I Am Sam
    • Peter Riegert – Sopranos, How to Kill Your Neighbour’s Dog, MASH
    • Rupert Evans – A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Retold), Hellboy
    • Valerie Curry – Veronica Mars
    • Molly Parker – The Road, Six Feet Under, Sunshine
    • David Strathairn – Hotel Marigold 2, The Tempest, The Bourne Ultimatum, Good Night and Good Luck, The Sopranos, A Map of the World, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, LA Confidential, Dolores Claiborne, A League of Their Own, Stars and Bars, Matewan, Silkwood
  • Why? Ewan MacGregor
  • Seen: 19 November 2017 with Hal and YW in our read-book-see-film group      

       We had a very lively discussion about the book. There was much we didn’t quite understand, some we didn’t like but generally we found the novel brilliant. So we’re very curious about the film. How can anyone make a film out of this book?
       The story is very simple. And very complex. The perfect American couple – star athlete Swede and ex-Miss New Jersey Dawn – are wealthy, well-intentioned, liberal, against the Vietnam war, the loving and supportive parents of Merry. But at 16 Merry hates them and their bourgeois values. She’s involved in an anti-war bombing in which a man is killed.
       Merry goes underground. Swede and Dawn must live with the consequences. And wait.
And wonder and grieve. And obsess.
       Why MacGregor chose this particular novel for his feature length directorial debut – or how he dared – I don’t understand but the result is impressive. Changes are made, the complexity it condensed, but the essence is there. He and the writers and the cast have captured the core.
       Read the novel. See the film. Both are flawed. And both powerfully reveal the murderous and manipulative lie of the American dream and American heroes.

4 ½ * of 5   


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