American Pastoral | Chicago Reader

American Pastoral

Ewan McGregor, taking over for a departed Philip Noyce, makes his directorial debut with this adaptation of Philip Roth's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel. I haven't read the book, but I'm guessing Roth brought more nuance and authority to its story of a New Jersey family in the 1960s and '70s than McGregor and screenwriter John Romano have with this cultural cartoon. David Strathairn plays Roth's stand-in, Nathan Zuckerman, who hears the family's history from a classmate at a high school reunion; in flashback, McGregor is the father, a cheery Newark businessman, and Jennifer Connelly is his baleful wife, a former beauty queen. They're the picture of middle-class stability, but their little American dream collapses after their furiously stuttering teenage daughter, blankly portrayed by Dakota Fanning, goes off the deep end as an antiwar radical (cue Buffalo Springfield's "For What It's Worth" on the soundtrack). A scene in which the daughter's hippie friend comes on to the father in a hotel room epitomizes the film's tone of bourgeois outrage and self-pity. With Peter Riegert and Molly Parker.

Credits

Director:

  • Ewan McGregor

Cast:

  • Ewan McGregor
  • Jennifer Connelly
  • Dakota Fanning
  • Valorie Curry
  • Uzo Aduba
  • Rupert Evans
  • Hannah Nordberg
  • Peter Riegert
  • Molly Parker
  • David Strathairn

Producers:

  • Tom Rosenberg
  • Gary Lucchesi
  • Andre Lamal
  • Eric Reid
  • Terry A. McKay

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