Phillip Roth’s classic novel “American Pastoral” has finally been made into a movie. Unfortunately the critics hate it.
The movie review site Rotten Tomatoes has given “American Pastoral” all of a 17% rating as of this posting.
First published in 1997, “American Pastoral” tells the story of Seymour “Swede” Levov, a successful Jewish American businessman and former high school star athlete from Newark, New Jersey. He lived through the turmoil of the 1960s and his story is told in flashbacks long after his death.
Ewan McGregor stars in the movie as Seymour Levov. Its also the actor, s directorial debut and the critics have been less than kind as to his directorial abilities. The film also stars Jennifer Connelly, Peter Riegert and Dakota Fanning.
— American Pastoral (@AmPastoralMovie) October 21, 2016
So what exactly are the critics saying?
The New York Times says, ” This shallow but watchable gloss on a book that conjures a searing image of the disintegrating American dream in the 1960s, especially as it pertains to Jewish identity and aspiration, amounts to not much more than a dutiful checklist of scenes from the novel. And its elegiac tone omits Mr. Roth’s bitterly sarcastic humor.”
The Washington Post states, “‘American Pastoral’ is a respectable but dull adaptation of Philip Roth’s novel.”
And The Hollywood Reporter had this to say: “Compressed into under two hours, this examination of family and social upheaval across the mid-century feels more like a check-list of ills than a nuanced and penetrating look at profound seismic shifts in the domestic landscape. The Newark riots are reduced to what looks like a block street scuffle, and select TV news clips, from the self-immolation of the Vietnamese monk to LBJ on the warpath, serve as bookmarks in the panorama of 20th century history.”