"American Pastoral" is a period piece, a piece of Americana and a literary adaptation.
It's a story about individual people, but also the story of an era.
[...] the Philip Roth novel of the same name is tonally difficult to convey on screen, somewhat extreme - not farce, not black comedy, but pushing at the edges of naturalism.
Told as a recollection by Roth's alter ego, Nathan Zuckerman (David Straithairn), the movie looks back on the story of "Swede" Levov, a high school sports hero admired by everyone in middle-class, Jewish, Newark, N.J.
The movie is unclear as to the origins of the stutter, but certainly something does seem off when she asks her father one night to kiss her the way he kisses "mommy."
"American Pastoral" is about the unraveling of dreams, about how things sometimes happen that seem random and capricious and even absurd, and yet they can drain away all the sweetness from life and leave people, in middle-age, looking around like mute witnesses.