Based on the novel by Phillip Roth and written for the screen and directed by James Schamus, this is an excellent adult drama with a star turn by Logan Lerman.
Set in 1951, during the Korean War, this is a coming of age film with an unorthodox (in more than one sense of the word) love story. Mr Lerman plays Marcus Messner, a young man of Jewish descent who enters a small Ohio College on a scholarship, thus avoiding the draft.
Glad to be away from his overly protective parents, especially his father (played by Danny Burstein), Marcus rooms with two other Jewish boys in a school where they are very much in the minority. It is there that he meets Olivia Hutton (played by Sarah Gadon) and a relationship develops.
The dean of the school is played by Tracy Letts and the scenes with Marcus that take place in his office are powerful and speak to the core of the film. Mr. Lerman has found his perfect role and he embodies Marcus so deeply, we are fully engaged as an audience.
Ms. Gadon brings a sadness to her character than adds depth to a part many would consider stereotyped. Mr. Letts is a towering authority figure and Mr. Burstein, along with Linda Emond are engaging and surprising parents.
Mr. Schamus captures the mood and texture of the period very well and while there are moments of humor, rest assured, this is a serious drama...well written and well acted.