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American Pastoral (2016)

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An All-American college star and his beauty queen wife watch their seemingly perfect life fall apart as their daughter joins the turmoil of '60s America.

Director:

Ewan McGregor

Writers:

Philip Roth (based on the novel by), John Romano (screenplay by)
1 win & 2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Ewan McGregor ... Swede Levov
Jennifer Connelly ... Dawn Levov
Dakota Fanning ... Merry Levov
Peter Riegert ... Lou Levov
Rupert Evans ... Jerry Levov
Uzo Aduba ... Vicky
Molly Parker ... Sheila Smith
Valorie Curry ... Rita Cohen
Hannah Nordberg ... Merry (12 Years Old)
Julia Silverman ... Sylvia Levov
Mark Hildreth ... Agent Dolan
Samantha Mathis ... Penny Hamlin
David Strathairn ... Nathan Zuckerman
Ocean James ... Merry (8 Years Old) (as Ocean Nalu James)
David Whalen ... Bill Orcutt
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Storyline

Seymour Levov, going by the nickname of 'Swede' in the Jewish community he was born into, was even more of an all-American than Douglas Fairbanks himself. He had just everything an American idol can dream of: not only was the tall muscular young man a high school star athlete but he married a beauty queen named Dawn in the bargain. And as if all this were not enough, Swede later became the successful manager of the glove factory his father had founded, which allowed him to live with his wife in a beautiful house in the New Jersey countryside. Well-mannered, always bright, smiling and positive, conservative but with a liberal edge, what bad could ever happen to him? And yet...this was reckoning without fate and its obnoxious irony, Swede and Dawn's nemesis manifesting itself in the person of Merry, their beloved daughter who in her teens unexpectedly turned into a violent activist. Written by Guy Bellinger

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

A radically ordinary family. See more »

Genres:

Crime | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for some strong sexual material, language and brief violent images | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Official Facebook | Official Site | See more »

Country:

Hong Kong | USA

Language:

English | Hebrew

Release Date:

21 October 2016 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

El fin del sueño americano See more »

Filming Locations:

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$149,038, 23 October 2016

Gross USA:

$541,457
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Color:

Black and White (archive footage)| Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Ewan McGregor's feature directorial debut. See more »

Goofs

When Swede and teen Merry talk in her bedroom, the LP cover at the front of a stack of records on the floor changes. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Nathan Zuckerman: [narrating as WWII era dance music plays] Let's remember the energy. America had won the war. The depression was over. Sacrifice was over. The upsurge of life was contagious. We celebrated a moment of collective inebriation that we would never know again. Nothing like it in all the years that followed from our childhood until tonight, the 45th reunion of our high school class.
Nathan Zuckerman: [now walking down a school hallway] At 30 or 40, a gathering of my old classmates would have been exactly ...
See more »


Soundtracks

Lullaby In Ragtime
Written by Sylvia Fine
Performed by Nick Marzock
See more »

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User Reviews

 
'I was never more wrong about anyone in my life.'
27 February 2017 | by gradyharpSee all my reviews

'I was never more wrong about anyone in my life.'

Philip Roth's superb book has passages of language that crystallizes our thinking, our memories, our association with life. In this cinematic transformation the words are placed in the utterances by Nathan Zuckerman, sort of an Everyman as he states in the opening of the film – 'Let's remember the energy. America had won the war. The depression was over. Sacrifice was over. The upsurge of life was contagious. We celebrated a moment of collective inebriation that we would never know again. Nothing like it in all the years that followed from our childhood until tonight, the 45th reunion of our high school class…30 or 40, a gathering of my old classmates would have been exactly the kind of thing I'd have kept my nose out of. But at 62, I found myself drawn to it as if in the crowd of half-remembered faces I'd be closer to the mystery at the heart of things, a magic trick that turned time past into time present'. John Romano adapted Roth's novel American PASTORAL for the screen. Ethan McGregor directs. We all reflect on a time that somehow, though placed in the 1960's resistance against the Vietnam War, is terrifyingly familiar with the mood of the nation at present, again at resistance rallies – and that is the reason it works so well.

Seymour 'Swede' Levov (Ewan McGregor) was from the Jewish community and is an All- American sports star in high school. He had everything an American idol can dream of - a the tall muscular young man and high school star athlete but he married a Catholic beauty queen named Dawn (Jennifer Connelly) against his father's (Peter Riegert) advice. Swede later became the successful manager of the glove factory his father had founded, which allowed him to live with his wife in a beautiful house in the New Jersey countryside. Well-mannered, always bright, smiling and positive, conservative but with a liberal edge, what bad could ever happen to him? The couple's stuttering daughter Merry (Hannah Nordberg then Dakota Fanning) is their pride and joy until she steps into the 1960s and becomes an antiwar activist, responsible for bombing a little station, killing the owner in what is a senseless and horrifying change in life direction. Merry leaves home and the rest of the film is a father's search for peace with his distraught wife and community while he ceaselessly searches for his renegade daughter.

A difficult film to watch, just as the book was challenging to read. But somehow the mirror it holds up to society as we are currently living it makes the disturbing experience all the more poignant.


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