INDIGNATION – A Review by Cynthia Flores

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By: Cynthia Flores
I was eager to see this film, not only because it’s based on a Phillip Roth book, but also because the director that adapted the book to a screenplay format also wrote The Ice Storm and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.
It opens in a modern unknown nursing home, with an old woman who spends her time drugged up and looking at the unusual wallpaper in front of her.  At the end of the film you will know who that woman is and why the wallpaper makes her happy.
The film then jumps back to the 1950s and smack dab into the Korean war, where someone (in a voice over) is telling us their beliefs on living and dying.  That’s a big jump, but by the time this scene is done you’re hooked and in for the ride.
This film revolves around a young working-class Jewish college student named Marcus (Logan Lerman) from New Jersey. Through a scholarship from his temple he attends a small Ohio College far from his overbearing father and loving mother. 
He starts out his college career with two other Jewish room mates.  The Dean thinks that being with your own kind will make them feel better. Of course these are the only two Jewish students that did not want to join the Jewish fraternity on campus. Bertram (Ben Rosenfield) is an overbearing rude drama student and his buddy Ron (Phillip Ettinger) is distant to Marcus the whole time they’re at school. The lack of friendship forces him to be very isolated his first semester, while still striving for straight A’s and attending the mandated Wednesday church services. 
In his classes and in the library he works at on campus he sees Olivia Hutton (Sarah Gadon) the blonde quite girl that captures his heart and gives him something other than school to obsess about.
The heart of the movie is his relationship with this girl that is as troubled.  She is beautiful, and much more sexually mature than he is.  That’s a great recipe for drama.
Marcus reaches an impasse with his roommates and after a fight, moves out to an undesirable room on campus.  When this happens the Dean intercedes with a meeting to confront him about his isolated campus life.  At the meeting Marcus declares his Atheist beliefs, stands up for his choices, and promptly throws up on the Deans trophy’s before he passes out from a reputed appendix. The rest of the film as he recuperates in the hospital is a study in the relationship he has with his girlfriend Olivia, his Mother, and the Jewish fraternity that takes him in after his is released from the hospital.
I don’t like to do spoilers so I will stay vague about the ending so you have to watch this film to know what happens.  Sufficed to say the film goes full circle to how it begins and how simple choices can lead to devastating results.
Indignation is not for people that need fast cuts and explosions every five minuets. It is however for the highbrow crowd or anyone that likes slow paced period film that puts a magnifying glass on interpersonal relationships in a time of war.  The cinematography is beautiful and the characters believable. Bottom line it’s a great way to beat the heat this August, so grab a friend and step back to 1950s America and a complex story of boy meets girl.
Directed & Written by James Schamus (from a book by Phillip Roth)
Cast: Logan Lerman, Sarah Gadon, Trachy Letts, and Linda Emond
MPAA Rating: R (for sexual content and some language)
Selig Rating: Matinee
Runtime: 110 Min.
The Selig Rating Scale:
FULL PRICE – Excellent movie, well worth the price
MATINEE – Good movie
DOLLAR – OK movie
CABLE – No need to rush. Save it for a rainy day.
FREEBIE – Good that I saw it on the big screen but wish I hadn't paid for it.
COMMERCIAL TV – Commercials and cutting to the allotted time will not hurt this one.
FORGET IT! – Bad. If you see this one, do yourself a favor and keep it to yourself.
GET YOUR TORCHES – BAD! – Burn the script, the writer, the director and maybe even the actors!
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