This week’s installment of Movie Mondays is about the screen adaptation of the Philip Roth novel Indignation, and the movie of the same name starring Logan Lerman, most known for his role as Percy Jackson in the Percy Jackson films and the role of Charlie in The Perks Of Being A Wallflower. The film also stars Sarah Gadon, most known for her role as Princess Elizabeth in A Royal Night Out, her small roles in such films as Maps To The Stars, Ebba Sparre in The Girl King, and my personal favorite, her role as Sadie Dunhill in the Hulu Original mini-series 11.22.63 based on the Stephen King novel of the same name. The role of Dean Hawes D. Caudwell is played by the brilliant playwright, screenwriter and actor Tracy Letts, the roles of Marcus’s parents are played by Danny Burstein and Linda Edmond. The casting was brilliantly done, and the actors were perfect for their roles, especially Logan Lerman as Marcus Messner, and Sarah Gadon as Olivia Hutton.

Both the novel and the film are told from the perspective of Marcus Messner, a brilliant young Jewish man and son of a Kosher Butcher. Due to his father’s increasingly paranoid behavior that’s causing him to spiral, Marcus decides to leave his home of Newark, New Jersey where he is attending Robert Treat College and transfer to Winesburg College in Ohio.
There a very few differences in the book and the movie, basically only minor changes are made but the story doesn’t suffer from it.

Finally able to be free of his father’s controlling behavior, Marcus tries to settle into his new home at Winesburg. He meets his new roommates, Bertram Flusser (played by Ben Rosenfield) and Ron Foxman (played by Philip Ettinger). He begins to get to know them little, and learns that Ron has a car that he is extremely proud of and somewhat obsessed with, and Flusser is a flamboyant theater major who gives Marcus a particularly hard time and takes pleasure in pressing Marcus’s buttons.

While studying in the library one evening, Marcus sees a girl studying not far from him and is immediately infatuated with her. He learns that her name is Olivia Hutton, the daughter of a doctor with divorced parents who was battled mental illness in the past. Despite all of this, he remains completely fascinated by her and asks her out on a date. Their relationship is complicated from the beginning and only becomes more so as time goes on.

Marcus’s time at Winesburg also becomes complicated after a heated confrontation with the Dean Caudwell over religion and Marcus’s attitude toward God and his limited and fraught interaction with other students. Marcus becomes more and more irate as the Dean questions his morals after Marcus states that he’s an atheist and criticizes his attitude. Despite being a brilliant student, his worldview and beliefs are at odds with that of the college and during the meeting with the Dean Caudwell, Marcus becomes extremely ill and is rushed to the hospital where he has his appendix removed.
Marcus learns from his mother that his father’s paranoia has become increasingly troubling and he worries for his mother, and she also disapproves of his relationship with Olivia causing Marcus to become even more stressed and troubled.
The decisions Marcus makes eventually lead to disastrous consequences and he is forced to face the repercussions.

As far as the adaptation goes, the director and screenwriter James Schamus did a brilliant job of bringing the themes and ideals of Philip Roth’s novel to life. The cast, especially Logan Lerman, is brilliant. He plays the role of Marcus flawlessly and is able to portray the brilliant yet naive character with amazing believability, depicting his flaws and characteristics just as Philip Roth had written them in the novel. Sarah Gadon played Olivia, the troubled, beautiful, and complicated girl beautifully and brought her vulnerability to life quite perfectly.

The adaptation is one of the best that I’ve ever seen, due to the work of the writer/director James Schamus and the cast bringing the novel and also the time period to life on screen in a remarkable fashion.

I encourage anyone who is a fan of Philip Roth’s novels, or just a fan of brilliant independent films to see it and enjoy it for yourself as much as I did.

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Coming soon, my review of All The Missing Girls by Megan Miranda. Sorry for the wait on the review, but this isn’t the type of book you tear through, it’s the kind of book you savor and consider as you read and enjoy the twists and turns.

Happy reading,