American Pastoral

Out Now On-Demand

An American businessman's upper middle class life is thrown into turmoil in this 1960s domestic drama. Ewan McGregor's directorial debut, which adapts Philip Roth's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel and stars himself and Jennifer Connelly.

"The film's elegant framing device introduces Seymour's (McGregor) former classmate, and Roth's inveterate alter ego, Nathan Zuckerman (David Strathairn). At a high-school reunion, Zuckerman catches up with Seymour's brother, Jerry (Rupert Evans), and discovers the remarkable tale of his old friend. A successful businessman with a happy family, Seymour's life begins to slide off the rails when his teenaged daughter, Merry (Fanning), becomes radicalised in reaction to the war in Vietnam. Soon she rejects her family's comfortable existence for a secret life of violent protest."

"Through a combination of Jerry's disclosures and Zuckerman's own recollections of his fleeting encounters with Seymour, a complex portrait is gradually constructed, one that speaks to the experience of not simply one man, but rather of an entire generation struggling to comprehend the dissolution of a dream." (Toronto International Film Festival)

Trailers

Directed by

Written by

  • John Romano
  • (based on the novel of the same name by Philip Roth)

Crime, Drama

108mins

Hong Kong, USA

Empire (UK)

press

It's hard to begrudge such an earnest endeavour, but this is missing the wit, nuance, and insight of a book thought by many - correctly, maybe - to be unadaptable.

Hollywood Reporter

press

The filmmaking is prosaic when it should crackle with tension and disruptive undercurrents ...

Los Angeles Times

press

A haunting, engrossing, often eerily timely adaptation. It's a movie that makes you think and feel - and then think some more.

New York Times

press

Not a desecration but a severe diminution of a complex literary masterpiece.

The Guardian (UK)

press

McGregor's performance has sincerity of a frowningly oppressive kind, but the whole thing is tinged with self-pity.

TimeOut (USA)

press

It's a remarkably committed effort that takes a few seriously misguided turns along the way, even as its actors lunge at psychological depth with every scene.

Total Film (UK)

press

Adapting Philip Roth's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel was always going to be a tall order for any director. In first-timer Ewan McGregor's hands it's entirely unwieldy.

Variety (USA)

press

Ewan McGregor's directorial debut is as flat and strangled as Philip Roth's novel is furious and expansive.