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|Laufzeit:||Ca. 102 Min|
|FSK:||From 12 years|
It's a truly American idyll that Seymour "the Swede" Levov (Ewan McGregor) has built for himself: he marries former beauty queen Dawn (Jennifer Connelly), takes over his father's successful glove factory (Peter Riegert) and moves with his wife and daughter Merry to a beautiful farm in the small village of Old Rimrock. There the girl grows up well protected and actually also happy. Nevertheless, she develops into a rebellious teenager (Dakota Fanning), who not only rebels more and more radically against the Vietnam War, but also against the values of her parents. When there is an attack in the small town, Merry is suspected and disappears. A world is falling apart for her father. He can't understand what happened to his little girl. From now on he does everything he can to find Merry again and bring her back into the sheltered life that he has so carefully built for her…
With his directing debut "American Idyll" Ewan McGregor has dared a lot. Philip Roth's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel is one of the greatest American novels of the last twenty years. The way in which Roth captured the attitude to life of the 60s with his language, as well as the complexity of the story, make a film adaptation an extremely difficult undertaking - especially when you're not only the director but also the main actor.
No question, McGregor's directing debut has some very strong moments and very positive aspects. The equipment captures the 60's atmosphere very well and most actors deliver very good performances. In addition, the story is simply very stirring, even though it is told here in a highly compressed form. However, it also becomes clear that screenwriter John Romano isn't Philip Roth and that Ewan McGregor has a good knack for leading his co-stars as a director, but is a bit overwhelmed with the dramaturgical aspects. Another problem is that Hannah Nordberg, who plays Merry as a 12-year-old girl, is so strong and convincing that Dakota Fanning just can't get her hands on it. Especially the stuttering Merry suffers from seems too hard on Fanning to be really believable. This of course also minimizes the emotional effect of the break between Merry and her parents.
In addition, many elements of action are neglected and therefore appear somewhat superficial. Nevertheless: If you don't know the book or if you can get away from a direct comparison, "American Idyll" is a very strong drama, which may have its weaknesses, but which are compensated by its many strengths. The film is a gripping portrait of a society in upheaval and a moving story about a father's unshakeable love for his daughter. No masterpiece like the book, but still absolutely worth seeing!
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