Premiering at the Miami Jewish Film Festival:  “INDIGNATION” based on a novel by Philip Roth.

Early 1950s – Korean Wartime – young men dying. Story is about Marcus Messner (Logan Lerman), a brilliant but socially naive Jewish boy from New Jersey who has a scholarship to attend a small, conservative private college in Ohio (and avoid going off to war where several of his neighbors and friends were killed). Being only one of a few Jews on campus, Marcus is assigned to room with two other Jewish boys, seniors, who he does not get along with.

Marcus meets Olivia Hutton (Sarah Gadon), a beautiful, but mentally unstable, gentile classmate who on their first date, surprises Marcus with oral sex. From his roommates, Marcus later learns that he was not her first and words and punches are exchanged.

When Marcus requests a room change, the Dean of the college, Hawes Cuadwell (Tracy Letts), challenges Marcus’s secular (rather than Jewish) beliefs and condescends to him with blatant disdain.

Back to the oral sex part – although Marcus did nothing to encourage her intimate gesture, which she repeats more than once, he did enjoy it! And from that point on, pretty much everything in Marcus’s life unravels.

If you are familiar with Portnoy’s Complaint, Goodbye Columbus, and other Philip Roth novels, this one, too, has stilted dialogue and prudishly judgmental values typical of the early 1950s; and the young people suffered from the same kind of angst.

In spite of the excellent portrayals by all the talented actors, this movie has an awful ending and it dragged.

Logan Lerman – Marcus Messner
Sarah Gadon – Olivia Hutton
Tracy Letts – Dean Caudwell
Ben Rosenfield – Bertram Flusser (roommate)
Linda Emond – mother – Esther Messner
Danny Burstein – father – Max Messner

Director: James Schamus
Story by: Philip Roth
Screenplay: James Schamus
Distributed by: Summit Entertainment, Roadside Attractions

 

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