In 1951 Marcus Messner (Lerman), the son of a Jewish butcher from New Jersey, attends a small college in Ohio to avoid the draft to Korea. He refuses to join a Jewish fraternity and clashes with his Jewish roommates. He then falls for the beautiful but unstable Olivia (Gadon). Eventually, their relationship, and his resistance to obligatory chapel attendance, brings him to the attention of the stern Dean Cauldwell (Letts). Will Marcus make it through?
With “Indignation”, writer/producer Schamus steps behind the camera for the first time and delivers a precisely rendered adaptation of Philip Roth’s semi-autobiographical novel. The period details are exact, and the script vividly evokes the oppressive strictures and prejudice of the time (racial, social and sexual). Lerman and Gadon are also winning as the young protagonists. Don’t miss this penetrating portrait of growing up Jewish in the fifties.