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American Pastoral

Ewan McGregor adapted the 400 page Philip Roth novel AMERICAN PASTORAL in his directing debut. A decent citizen is thrown off his life course when his daughter bombs a local post office and disappears in 1968.


Ewan McGregor adapted the 400 page 1997 Philip Roth book “American Pastoral” in his directing debut. He is in the main role and plays well-behaved Seymour Levov who was called “Sweden” in school because of his blonde hair. As a jock, mr. popularity, and the heir to the family business the descendent of Jewish migrants had many doors open for him. He marries Christian beauty queen Dawn, moves to a big house in WASPy Old Rimrock with his wife and daughter Merry, and heads the company with feudal care for his employees. Then it’s 1968 and Merry is suspected of placing a bomb in a post office and his sunny happy-go-lucky life collapses like a house of cards. Levov searches for his daughter for years and fails to understand the fury and hate the younger generation have towards the US. AMERICAN PASTORAL gets close to a puzzling subject, the normal citizen, through a convoluted framework. The film doesn’t have a lot of time to include psychological depth to the absurdist hooks typical of Roth. The significant development of Dawn from beauty queen to cow rearer to art patron could have been more well developed and the same can be said for Merry’s background, the history of the radical left psychotherapist ,or the dealings with sexual obsessions which are a constant theme in Roth’s books. We also don’t get close to Sweden himself despite his struggle with a changing world being at the center of the film. There is enough material here for a 10 part miniseries at least.


Translation: Elinor Lewy


Original title: American Pastoral
USA 2016, 126 min
Genre: Drama, Crime Drama
Director: Ewan Mcgregor
Author: John Romano
DOP: Martin Ruhe
Montage: Melissa Kent
Music: Alexandre Desplat
Distributor: Tobis Filmverleih
Cast: Ewan McGregor, Jennifer Connelly, Dakota Fanning, David Strathairn, Peter Riegert
FSK: 12
Release: 17.11.2016




  • OV Original version
  • OmU Original with German subtitles
  • OmeU Original with English subtitles
English/with English subtitles
All languages

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