Film Review: Unexpected Lessons for the Student of ‘Indignation’

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Average: 5 (1 vote)

CHICAGO – America was a very different place in 1951, and there are very few people around to tell us about it. That is why reminders of the more confining social order that existed back then is necessary, and is expressed in the film “Indignation.” This is an adaptation of a recent Philip Roth novel, and he was able to articulate the era.

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 4.5/5.0
Rating: 4.5/5.0

The story is about mental health, but that theme lurks in the background rather than overtly exposed – much like all the hidden societies in 1951 America. It is presented through the stigmas that people put upon themselves while dealing with the tragedy of misunderstanding – whether it is in a undiagnosed bipolar condition or the forcing of religious philosophy upon another person because of a belief that it is the only dogma. This is a multi-textured and multi-layered film, with a cast that delivers these powerful themes with an anguish in having to teach and learn the harsh lessons.

Marcus is a highly intelligent striver in a middle class Jewish family in 1951. His father (Danny Burstein) is a butcher, and is showing signs of unhinging as his son leaves for college, which distresses his mother (Linda Emond). The Ohio school is serving two purposes for Marcus – it is giving him his long desired education, and is deferring his draft into the Korean War.

The transition of Marcus at the school is awkward. The curriculum includes mandatory Christian chapel once a week, and he meets a girl named Olivia (Sarah Gadon), who provides generous – for the time – sexual favors early in their courtship. This leads to a confrontation with the college dean (Tracy Letts), and lessons in decision-making that threatens Marcus and his new life.


“Indignation” opened in Chicago, continuing its limited release. See local listings for theaters and show times. Featuring Logan Lerman, Sarah Gadon, Danny Burstein, Linda Emond and Tracy Letts. Screenplay adapted and directed by James Schamus. Rated “R”

StarContinue reading for Patrick McDonald’s full review of “Indignation”

Indig 1
Olivia (Sarah Gadon) and Marcus (Logan Lerman) Teach Each Other in ‘Indignation’
Photo credit: Summit Entertainment.

StarContinue reading for Patrick McDonald’s full review of “Indignation”

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