The dictionary defines indignation as “anger and annoyance provoked by what is perceived as unfair treatment,” and I guess based on Pilip Roth’s book which is teh source of this film (since I have not read it) this stems from the anti-semitism culture still prevalent in 1951 America. ‘Indignation,’ the film is set during these times, and is about Marcus Messner (Logan Lerman) who ‘escapes’ being drafted into the Korean War as he goes into college at fictional Winesberg.
Marcus is a strong character with ideas of his own. While said ideas may be normal in today’s times, they were revolutionary back then – he professes to being an Atheist, and has specific ideas about government and organized religion. Logan Lerman plays him brilliantly – this young man is intelligent but cautious, wary of said indignation. Lerman is a study of subtle bragaddocio and wide-eyed innocence. He feels he knows better, but also aware of his naiveté. The latter comes up when he meets Olicia Hutton (Sarah Gadon) a woman with more experienced darkness. He is scared and fascinated by her. He falls in love.
This love stays with him, and with us as we watch his world implode, and the story spins to a mediation about mortality. This film almost reads like a play – scenes are longer but seems stilted at times. There’s a great scene between Lerman and Tracy Letts (who plays his dean) which show both personalities as each play with each character’s prejudices, ideologies, and the dance is mesmerizing. This is a quiet film – it made me think about it even as I finished it. Here I am now, hours later, and feel like I missed some points. I bet if I watched it again I will discover things I hadn’t noticed first time ’round.