***1/2 out of ****
Indignation is a well-made movie about a young Jewish atheist attending an Ivy League university during the fifties through the insistence of his parents who have seen too many boys his age go off to Korea to die in battle.
I haven’t ever read Philip Roth, so I cannot confirm if the tone of the novel on which this film is based comes across in the film. I can simply say that writer/director James Schamus (normally an Ang Lee collaborator) makes a very good dialogue-based work out of his material.
Like in The Perks of Being a Wallflower, actor Logan Lerman once again takes a role that doesn’t seem suited for his handsome looks and cool demeanor, but manages to make it work; Sarah Gadon brings her stunning and gorgeous energy to the film as his troubled love interest; and playwright Tracy Letts is riveting as the college Dean whose scene’s with Lerman take up a fair amount of the film’s time - which is nothing to complain about.
I only question the film’s arc structure, which feels somewhat hackneyed and imposed. Regardless, I think we can expect this movie to be remembered during awards season as a tragic coming-of-age story about people too ahead of their time to make a good life in what most people would assume to be the best of circumstances.