Academic journal article Journal of Religion and Film

Indignation

Academic journal article Journal of Religion and Film

Indignation

Article excerpt

Indignation

(2016)

Directed by James Schamus

Marcus Messner (Logan Lerman) is a good boy - a very good boy. And, he's indignant throughout the movie because people continually challenge his choices: his father the kosher butcher, the Dean of his college, his classmates, and of course, his mother. There is a lot to be indignant about in the life of Marcus Messner in 1951.

Marcus finally escapes New Jersey and the criticism of his father by enrolling into a small community college in Ohio. Well, not exactly escapes, but at least now his father can only complain on the phone. As a student at Winesburg College, Marcus studies hard, gets good grades, works in the library, and meets Olivia Hutton (Sarah Gadon). Marcus and Olivia have only one date and then struggle with their relationship throughout the rest of the movie.

When Marcus' mother comes to visit, she announces that she is going to divorce Marcus' father, whose complaining has gotten much worse. The complaining has driven Marcus' mother crazy. Marcus talks his mother out of divorcing his father, but in exchange she extracts a promise from Marcus that he will stop dating Olivia. Marcus promises his mother that he will no longer see Olivia.

After talking to Marcus' mother, Olivia disappears and Marcus learns that she has had a mental/emotional breakdown and has been placed in an institution. He blames himself, but all he can do is send Olivia a letter in which he tells her that, for the short time they were together, she was loved.

Interwoven into the story of Marcus and Olivia is a discussion about being Jewish and being Jewish at a college with few Jewish students. …

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