An All-American college star and his beauty queen wife watch their seemingly perfect life fall apart as their daughter joins the turmoil of '60s America.An All-American college star and his beauty queen wife watch their seemingly perfect life fall apart as their daughter joins the turmoil of '60s America.An All-American college star and his beauty queen wife watch their seemingly perfect life fall apart as their daughter joins the turmoil of '60s America.
Couple of comments: this movie is the directing debut of actor Ewan McGregor, who also plays the lead role of Swede. The movie is the big screen adaptation of the Philip Roth book of the same name. I have not read the book, so I can't comment how closely (or not) the movie follows the underlying book. I had seen the trailer of the movie several times, and thought it looked very promising and intriguing. As it turns out, McGregor seemingly couldn't make up his mind whether this was going to be a psychological family drama, or a missing person crime thriller, or both. In the end, it tries to be both but fails to be compelling, including resulting from several improbable plot twists. It certainly isn't because of the lack of acting talent. McGregor is okay, but Jennifer Connelly as his wife Dawn is outstanding (at some point she goes into a minutes-long monologue against Swede, with devastating effect. Daughter Merry is played by several actresses (as she grows up), but the bulk of the role is done by Dakota Fanning, who seems weirdly "off" for this role. Last but not least, there is another great orchestral score from Oscar-winning composer Alexandre Desplat.
"American Pastoral" opened this weekend at my local art-house theater here in Cincinnati, and the Saturday matinée screening where I saw this at was attended nicely. Maybe others were, like me, intrigued by the movie's trailer. I wonder of the word-of-mouth will be positive enough to keep this movie playing in theaters very long. Yet there are enough strong moments in it that I might suggest you check out "American Pastoral", be it in the theater, on Amazon Instant Video, or eventually on DVD/Blu-ray, and draw your own conclusion.
- Nov 5, 2016