American Pastoral tells the story of 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.
This film has been in development hell for more than ten years from the book of the same name by author Philip Roth. It only finally coming to life when Ewan McGregor pulled it all together as director of the film and plays the lead of the film. I didn’t really know much about the film and and never had the chance to read the book since I didn’t even know it existed until recently so the closeness in adaptation from book to screen is something I can’t comment on but from the trailer, it was intriguing enough to sit through the almost two hour effort.
In the end, American Pastoral didn’t know what it wanted to be. Was it a missing persons crime thriller? Or a psychological family drama? This confusion wasn’t because of performances given as Jennifer Connelly was the stand out in American Pastoral with McGregor a mere average and Dakota Fanning feeling a little off in her casting choice and performance. There is the possibility that it was trying to be both but ultimately failed to do so with unbelievable plot twists.
It’s a film that you would only know about through word of mouth or if you managed to catch the trailer at your local art house theatre or even on the internet somewhere.
American Pastoral may not be McGregor’s greatest directorial effort but it is his first and he may get better with practice. For now, he should return to acting though he should be picking his roles more carefully as his last few films haven’t exactly been the greatest.