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American Pastoral

I was so excited to be able to see a movie that opened (I think) only in LA and NYC. I didn't even really do my homework to see what it was about. I'd seen the trailer once and it caught my eye. Throw in that it starred Ewan McGregor in his directorial debut, and I was sold. Except I prolly should have checked into a bit more. I kept on expecting more to happen, something twisted and dark, and it never really did. Rewatching the trailer just now, I see how it's cut to tease a psychological thriller (the use of "Mad World" certainly evokes that), and that's not at all what it is. Or at least this film adrenaline junkie would not consider it a thriller.

McGregor stars as a family man in the 60's married to Jennifer Connelly and raising Dakota Fanning. Fanning's character is an angsty teenager, angry at the world and wanting to protest anything and everything. Her political rebellions begin to tear the family apart. I honestly spent half the movie just wondering where it was going. And not in an edge-of-my-seat-whats-gonna-happen-next sort of way, but more of a huh-whats-the-point. I mean I sorta get what the point was, but I couldn't help but feeling like we were only scratching the surface of something deeper that I was dying to tap into.

Our cast was fantastic (mega bonus points for also including Uzo Aduba), and the visuals were rich and striking. I just wish I could have been more invested in the story. We had a couple points where it started to get interesting, building some mystery, and then it would always end up flat and unsatisfying. Shame really to waste what could have been a beautiful film on a weak screenplay.

American Pastoral - \m/ \m/
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