In 1951, Marcus Messner escapes the perils of the Korean War draft and the obsessive fears of his overbearing kosher-butcher father in New Jersey with his admission to college in Ohio. Upon arriving at the strictly Christian school, ardent atheist Marcus rejects the assumption that he should integrate into the small Jewish population there, eventually butting heads with the exacting Dean Caudwell over his reluctance to attend chapel and his budding relationship with a beautiful but troubled classmate. As his outrage mounts, Marcus finds himself yearning to shake off his long-held persona of hardworking boy and dutiful son.
Academy Award–nominated screenwriter and independent film stalwart James Schamus makes his feature directorial debut with this exquisite period portrait of a young man at a crossroads. Adapting Philip Roth’s novel with warmth and faithfulness, Schamus elicits support from a universally top-of-their-game cast, highlighted by a blistering turn by Logan Lerman as the idealistic, increasingly indignant Marcus.
- Heidi Zwicker, Sundance Film Festival Catalog