Considering how many movies, books and TV shows covered the Manson family and its so-much-more sensational
Katherine (which has, since then, had its title changed to 'The Radical'), the musical Hair, of course (but that offered protest than was non-violent), and a few novels that, mostly quite after-the-fact, addressed the issues that were then at hand and quite vital to the good old USA.
Philip Roth's American Pastoral, first published in 1997, of which we now have a movie version, also called AMERICAN PASTORAL and directed by and starring Ewan McGregor (shown at right), with a screenplay adapted by John Romano. The other currently-streaming-via- Amazon cultural artifact that tackles this time period and its discontents is -- of all things -- the latest endeavor by one, Woody Allen, and is titled CRISIS IN SIX SCENES. The two works, while covering similar territory, could hardly be more different.
TrustMovies -- proves rather striking and edifying. While neither work is entirely successful, both are eminently worth seeing, mulling over and enjoying for their various strong points, which are many. American Pastoral explores terrorism and its results darkly, while Crisis in Six Scenes gives us the light and quite funny/satiric side via the usual Woody witticisms/characterizations. Both make you think and ponder nonetheless. Seen together, they add up to a particularly tasty, nourishing and worth-digesting meal.
Hannah Nordberg, above, right, nails this moment) that it brings the concept of empathy to searing life. Nothing is quite the same thereafter.
Jennifer Connelly (three photos above) is fine as the beautiful wife who finds her own way of coping (though Roth's misogyny is most apparent here), David Strathairn (above) impresses, as always, as the narrator, schoolmate, and Molly Parker (below) does, as well, as Merry's double-duty therapist.
Orange Is the New Black's amazing Uzo Aduba shows us a whole new side as our hero's assistant at the glove-making factory (is she Roth's idea of the "good negro"?) that he has taken over from his aging father (the very good Peter Riegert. below). And then there is Mr. McGregor. This actor has been just fine in film after film. Here, he is perfectly OK, but it is in and through him that the flatness of the film most shows up. He's the character we're able least to get inside: Utterly passive; he reacts to everything but rarely acts on his own. While this may have been Roth's and now McGregor's intention, it does leave a kind of hole in the movie.
Dakota Fanning (below, right) plays the daughter Merry grown up, and she, too, is flat but still impressive, while leaving us longing for answers, of which there will be none. And rightly so. This character's empathy is far-ranging, eternal and clearly destructive to her and those around her.
Lionsgate -- and supposedly running a more than two-hour time frame, which now seems to have now been cut down to around 105 minutes -- the movie opens nationwide this Friday, October 21. Here in South Florida it will play the AMC Aventura 24 in Miami, Regal's South Beach 18 in Miami Beach, and the Cinemark Palace 20, Boca Raton. Click here and then click on GET TICKETS to find the theater nearest you.
Miley Cyrus (above, left), who is actually good -- charming, bright and alluring -- enough to attract another important character, the also bright-but-too-buttoned-down young businessman, Alan, played by the very good John Magaro (above, right).
Elaine May, above, right), that the gun-toting Lennie breaks one late night, turning the Munsinger household upside down. On the run from the law for a number of "terrorist" acts, Lennie brings up those same themes of justice, retribution, rights and wrongs.
Joy Behar (above, center), as one of Mrs. Munsinger's book-club attendees, to famous French comic Gad Elmaleh as one of Kay's marriage- counseling clients. (Some of her advice to these clients is very funny, if not perhaps very typical). The break-in leads to consciousness-raising, romance, and some silly but funny derring-do (below) by Sidney and Kay -- all before the everything's-gonna-be-fine finish, which seems to gather together on screen maybe half of Westchester County.
Amazon Originals production group, Crisis in Six Scenes is streaming now and should provide copious laughs and not a little nostalgia for the senior set. Amazon Prime members can watch it free of charge.