Ewan McGregor's directorial debut (he also stars) takes on nothing less than the fragile impermanence of the American Dream — dreams, after all, being things up from which you must ultimately wake — even going so far as to imply that the seeds of its destruction are sown even as it is achieved. MacGregor plays the Swede, a blond SuperJew who goes from strength to strength in postwar America, eventually marrying beauty queen Dawn (Jennifer Connelly), taking over Dad’s factory, moving to a big house in the country, and raising lovely daughter Merry (Dakota Fanning). And then the ‘60s happen, and all the goodness and right-thinking in the world aren’t enough to bridge the generation gap, or even to preserve a shared idea of civilization. It’s the sort of film you find yourself thinking better of the longer you are away from it, largely because it makes many intelligent choices and portrays many cogent moments, but does so without always conveying the kind of fire and feeling that such choices and moments ought to produce. In the end, it’s too polite and considered a portrait of a rude and chaotic world, but as with most Philip Roth adaptions, there’s plenty to talk about afterward. (2016) — Matthew Lickona
This movie is not currently in theaters.