The setting of this film is 1951 during the draft for the Korean War. Marcus Messner receives a scholarship to be the first member of his family to attend college. This will keep him from being called up for the war too. He is the son of a butcher in Newark, NJ. He leaves for Ohio to attend a small conservative college. Since Marcus is Jewish, he is invited join the Jewish Fraternity. He decides he wants to focus fully on his education and he doesn’t have time for outside interests. He meets Olivia Hutton while studying at the library and he asks her out on a date. Olivia’s father is a doctor and she has had a troubled childhood.
Marcus is called in to see Dean Caldwell and the conversation does not go well. The Dean wants to know if Marcus always solves his problems by running away? The Dean can’t understand why Marcus doesn’t believe religion belongs in academic life. There is a lot of underlying emotion in this film but I wasn’t drawn enough to the characters. I understand them and I do feel sympathy for them. The plot seems to operate too much in the mental and ambiguous gray area. 3* (This movie is OK)
110 min, Drama directed by James Schamus with Logan Lerman, Sarah Gadon, Tijuana Ricks, Sue Dahlman, Jason Jiang, Avy Eschenasy, Richard Topol, Danny Burstein, Walter Bernstein, Joanne Baron, Sarah Gadon.
Note: Imdb 6.9 out of 10, 82% critic 77% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Roger Ebert 4*, Amazon 3.4* out of 5* with 75 reviews.
Special Note: Filmed at The College of New Rochelle, New, Rochelle, New York and 9-17 Clintonville St, Whitestone, New York. The name of the college is a tribute to a collection of short stories titled Winesburg, Ohio by Sherwood Anderson. Written, produced and directed as a first effort by James Schamus. It seems to me that the more cerebral a film, the higher the rating on Roger Ebert?