American Pastoral

2016

Crime  Drama  

Synopsis


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January 26, 2017 at 11:00 pm

Director

Cast

Dakota Fanning as Merry Levov
Rupert Evans as Jerry Levov
Jennifer Connelly as Dawn Levov
Ewan McGregor as Swede Levov
720p 1080p
789.18 MB
1280*720
English
R
23.976 fps
1hr 48 min
P/S 76 / 565
1.64 GB
1920*1080
English
R
23.976 fps
1hr 48 min
P/S 75 / 437

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by antoniotierno 9 / 10

leaves a bit to be desired

America lost its innocence in the sixties. The post-war dream of a wealthy, successful society which could be an example to the world, was shattered by Vietnam, race riots and political murders. Instead of a shining example, America turned out to be a ruthless, violent and unequal society.The country has never really recovered. The innocence and the optimism of the fifties and the first half of the sixties have never come back. Watergate, Columbine, Sandy Hook, Iraq, 9/11, Waco, you name it.'American Pastoral' documents this loss of innocence. The lead character, Swede Levov, is the archetype of the successful American. Handsome, rich, intelligent, successful, considerate: he is the ideal man, just as America was the ideal society. Or rather: he tries to be the ideal man, just as America tried to be the ideal society.But his life is shattered when his only daughter disappears. Slowly, Swede Levov has to come to grips with the notion that his lovely girl has killed several innocent people in a bombing campaign by a radical counter-culture movement. He starts an obsessional search for his daughter, while his wife develops mental problems, and his company is threatened by rioting, changing consumption patterns and competition from low-cost countries.It's not easy to get all this into a movie. That's probably why it took so long to get this project realized. Director Ewan McGregor does a decent job with this adaptation of Philip Roth's novel (which I haven't read). But it was all a bit too polished to my taste. That's surprising for someone who has risen to fame with Trainspotting, which is the complete opposite of a polished film. What I missed was something surprising, out of the ordinary, something with a sharp edge. A lot of it has to do with how the film looks: even the roughest scenes don't look really rough. The film lacked just a little bit of the roughness, the madness and the craziness that made Trainspotting such a great movie.

Reviewed by Ruben Mooijman 9 / 10

The loss of innocence

American Dream that has gone wrong. Picture perfect couple (Ewan McGregor, Jennifer Connelly) has a troubled child. At first the girl has a stuttering problem but growing up and reaching puberty, there is no denying that she wants to be nothing like them. And then it gets much worse...Don't worry, it's not a horror movie or thriller although the summary may hint at that. To put it really shortly, it's a family drama.Also starring Dakota Fanning (the daughter as adult), Molly Parker (as her psychotherapist), Uzo Aduba (Crazy Eyes from "Orange Is the New Black"!), Valorie Curry, Peter Riegert, David Strathairn. There are a lot of good actors movie although McGregor's character is firmly in the center of it all.This is gonna be the kindest review of "American Pastoral" you will probably read. Critics seem to hate it and viewers will likely stay indifferent, or not praise it highly. But me ? I'm loving it! To really understand what Ewan McGregor's directorial debut* is all about, you must be interested in watching and deciphering it as a parable, or simple story which includes a hidden moral or spiritual lesson.On more superficial level, "American Pastoral" can be watched just as a family drama set in 1950-60's USA. This way, it's a functional if uneasy viewing which makes you fathom something bigger lurking somewhere around the corner but not quite appreciate it fully.On deeper level it's about how difficult it really is to be flexible to the world and life around us. It's very human to long for freedom and try to place everything in boxes at the same time.The deeper meaning here can unfold by relying on several different frameworks ? psychoanalytical, just intellectual or spiritual / symbolic. The viewer's personal approach will, of course, be highly dependent on one's general world view, be it esoteric or rational (all things are ultimately explainable by science and reason), or somewhere in between. I say "American Pastoral" is most enjoyable from spiritual viewpoint. Actions and the behaviour of the characters make the most sense and seems most understandable and human, if one concentrates on WHY we do things we do. If one only view causal relationships ? he/she did it because of the past event x or y ? the whole story loses a lot of its colours and shades.The real magic here is how Ewan McGregor, with the help of all his cast and crew, has managed to make the movie work on every level you choose to see it. One may not particularly enjoy approaching "American Pastoral" just rationally as many critics have done. But the movie still has a strong sure sense of style, both in visuals and storytelling. This also works on two levels. Some see the movie as comical and theatrical, and characters as caricatures. At the same time, all this can convey so much emotion and sharp little observations about everyday life and relationships, that one can't help but be delighted during at least some moments. Just like reading a good spiritual book. I liked all the actors and Ewan McGregor is my long-time favorite. But especially powerful are Dakota Fanning and Valorie Curry, both evil and innocent at the same time.It's not often that movie manages to talk to me so directly and arouse emotions so strong as "American Pastoral" did. This is one of my big favorites from 2016 so far. It may surprise that McGregor has such a sure hand as a first-time director of a complex movie. But he has always been versatile and has starred in similarly dark and complex movie already, 2003's forgotten little gem "Young Adam".What DOES surprise is the fact that McGregor was not the original director and the man behind all this. As a director, he stepped in at the last minute after Philip Noyce left the production!I have planned on reading the works of Philip Roth for over ten years or so. Still haven't done it somehow. After seeing "Pastoral", I want to do it even more.* I know, McGregor has also co-directed 1999's "Tube Tales" but he only had a segment in anthology movie. "American Pastoral" can be still called his real debut as a movie director.

Reviewed by Kapten Video 9 / 10

A radically ordinary story of American Dream's shadow side

American Dream that has gone wrong. Picture perfect couple (Ewan McGregor, Jennifer Connelly) has a troubled child. At first the girl has a stuttering problem but growing up and reaching puberty, there is no denying that she wants to be nothing like them. And then it gets much worse...Don't worry, it's not a horror movie or thriller although the summary may hint at that. To put it really shortly, it's a family drama.Also starring Dakota Fanning (the daughter as adult), Molly Parker (as her psychotherapist), Uzo Aduba (Crazy Eyes from "Orange Is the New Black"!), Valorie Curry, Peter Riegert, David Strathairn. There are a lot of good actors movie although McGregor's character is firmly in the center of it all.This is gonna be the kindest review of "American Pastoral" you will probably read. Critics seem to hate it and viewers will likely stay indifferent, or not praise it highly. But me ? I'm loving it! To really understand what Ewan McGregor's directorial debut* is all about, you must be interested in watching and deciphering it as a parable, or simple story which includes a hidden moral or spiritual lesson.On more superficial level, "American Pastoral" can be watched just as a family drama set in 1950-60's USA. This way, it's a functional if uneasy viewing which makes you fathom something bigger lurking somewhere around the corner but not quite appreciate it fully.On deeper level it's about how difficult it really is to be flexible to the world and life around us. It's very human to long for freedom and try to place everything in boxes at the same time.The deeper meaning here can unfold by relying on several different frameworks ? psychoanalytical, just intellectual or spiritual / symbolic. The viewer's personal approach will, of course, be highly dependent on one's general world view, be it esoteric or rational (all things are ultimately explainable by science and reason), or somewhere in between. I say "American Pastoral" is most enjoyable from spiritual viewpoint. Actions and the behaviour of the characters make the most sense and seems most understandable and human, if one concentrates on WHY we do things we do. If one only view causal relationships ? he/she did it because of the past event x or y ? the whole story loses a lot of its colours and shades.The real magic here is how Ewan McGregor, with the help of all his cast and crew, has managed to make the movie work on every level you choose to see it. One may not particularly enjoy approaching "American Pastoral" just rationally as many critics have done. But the movie still has a strong sure sense of style, both in visuals and storytelling. This also works on two levels. Some see the movie as comical and theatrical, and characters as caricatures. At the same time, all this can convey so much emotion and sharp little observations about everyday life and relationships, that one can't help but be delighted during at least some moments. Just like reading a good spiritual book. I liked all the actors and Ewan McGregor is my long-time favorite. But especially powerful are Dakota Fanning and Valorie Curry, both evil and innocent at the same time.It's not often that movie manages to talk to me so directly and arouse emotions so strong as "American Pastoral" did. This is one of my big favorites from 2016 so far. It may surprise that McGregor has such a sure hand as a first-time director of a complex movie. But he has always been versatile and has starred in similarly dark and complex movie already, 2003's forgotten little gem "Young Adam".What DOES surprise is the fact that McGregor was not the original director and the man behind all this. As a director, he stepped in at the last minute after Philip Noyce left the production!I have planned on reading the works of Philip Roth for over ten years or so. Still haven't done it somehow. After seeing "Pastoral", I want to do it even more.* I know, McGregor has also co-directed 1999's "Tube Tales" but he only had a segment in anthology movie. "American Pastoral" can be still called his real debut as a movie director.

Reviewed by Kapten Video 9 / 10

A radically ordinary story of American Dream's shadow side

With the 2016 Presidential Election from Hell, mercifully, running out of gas, there's a new movie out that reminds us that things could always be worse. "American Pastoral," a film about the turbulent-Vietnam War era, reveals in suspense-filled details the conflict's damning effects on one, middle-class family.It stars (Ewan McGregor) as Seymour Levov, Jewish, a Newark, NJ-based entrepreneur, high school star athlete and WWII veteran. He's contently married to a Catholic girl, Dawn Dwyer (Jennifer Connelly.) She's a pretty, former "Miss New Jersey." He's a happy go-lucky political liberal. His friends call him "Swede." The Swede's factory makes gloves in what's left of Newark's industrial base. After the assassination of MLK, Jr., the riots of 1968 strike the town hard. It's fair to say that Newark, and the Swede's business and home life, were badly shaken by the experience.Nevertheless, the Swede's family, residing out in the patrician-dominated countryside, soldier on. They are enjoying the good life out on their farm/home, in suburbia New Jersey.The Levovs have one daughter, Merry. As a child, she's played impressively by (Ocean James, age 8; and Hannah Nordberg, age 12). When she reaches that late teenage time of open rebellion, the fine actress, (Dakota Fanning), enters the frame.Merry, a blonde, is a little on the spoiled side growing up. She also has a serious stuttering, and "dad problem."The movie is based on a popular novel of the same name, authored by the controversial Philip Roth. In 2012, he declared, a la J.D. Salinger, that he was going to fade from the literary scene. (Oh, my, these testy writers! Sometimes they can be worse than those larger-than-life egos on the TV show, "The View!")The novel, "American Pastoral," came out in 1997. I haven't read it. I prefer to review a movie without forever comparing it to how the book portrayed this or that subject, which can be so distracting. I understand the film is true to the spirit of the book.In any event, the screenplay for the flick was written by John Romano, and he gets the job done. It's McGregor, himself, (the Swede), who very skillfully, directs the movie. His acting is compelling, too.The Levov family is soon shaken again. As the Vietnam War heated up in the 60/70s, their daughter Merry, now age 16, is pulled into the most extreme antiwar politics of the day. She starts associating with violence-prone antiwar radicals in New York City.The generation gap in families is all too familiar. But, when you toss in a very unpopular war, the mix can be toxic. The Swede and his wife try, but have a tough time dealing with Merry. Meanwhile, she has developed a smart-ass, know-it-all attitude.Backstory: The Vietnam War (1964-1975) literally ripped the country apart. After the murder of President John F. Kennedy, his successor, the shadowy Lyndon B. Johnson, launched the conflict based on a false flag op, k/a "The Gulf of Tonkin Resolution." Close to 58,000 of our finest sons and daughters died; many more were wounded. The Vietnamese casualties ran into the millions. Protesters in the U.S. hit the streets. Vietnam birthed the modern day, "Antiwar Movement." It also brought out the crazies, the ultra-militant, "Weathermen," aka "The Weather Underground." The chant, "Hey, Hey, LBJ! How many kids did you kill today?" regularly rang out at demonstrations across the county. The torching of the American flag was also a frequent occurrence at these demonstrations.Matters begin to speed up in the film when a bomb goes off in the Swede's local Post Office. It brings the war home for him and his family. The postmaster is killed in the blast. Merry is implicated in the act of terrorism and suddenly goes missing. The FBI is on her trail. Her devastated father tries to track her down, too, which takes up about the last half of the movie.Much of the story is told in a narrative form by an ex-classmate of the Swede, Nathan Zuckerman, ably played by (David Strathairn). A sounding board for Zuckerman is the Swede's brother Jerry (Rupert Evans), a doctor. They relate how the years had burst the bubble of Swede, the one-time high school jock. The Swede's search for Merry brings him into the mean streets of Newark's ghetto. One day at the glove factory, he visited by a young woman, Rita Cohen (Valorie Curry). She purports to be a friend of Merry's from the underground movement. Is this a setup? Is she just looking to shake him down and then do him harm? In any event, some of Roth's views on the Vietnam War period come off as too far removed from the struggle itself. It's like he relied mostly on headlines, and stereotypes, from that period to craft two of his most important characters: the Swede's daughter, Merry; and the extremist radical, Rita Cohen. For one, Merry's evolving, so quickly, into a full fledged bomb maker doesn't compute. The mysterious Cohen character, I must add, is totally incredulous. Despite those objections, the movie, still works as first-rate entertainment. The film was shot in Pittsburgh, PA.It's the superb acting, which keeps "American Pastoral" together. It sustain your interest throughout. This sad film recreates, at times, insightfully, via the highly-fictionalized history of one impacted family in suburbia New Jersey, the trauma, anxiety and grief of that horrific Vietnam War era.I'm not only recommending "American Pastoral," I'm giving it six out of ten stars.

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