When I read a Philip Roth novel some years ago, I thought that would be my last encounter with the author. Until I stumbled upon this 2015 movie, not realising at first that it is based on another of his novels. Just as well; because I would not have enjoyed reading the book. The DVD cover simply states that it is an “extraordinary and timeless tale of lost love and innocence”.
The main characters are Marcus Messner (Logan Lerman) and Olivia Hutton (Sarah Gadon). The brilliant Jewish, serious, intense, good-looking and hardworking young man arrives at a small, conservative college in Ohio (from New Jersey where his parents own and run a butcher shop) and becomes infatuated with a beautiful classmate who is mature and vastly more experienced (reminding me of Sylvia Plath with her complexity, strength and vulnerability); and their mutual attraction sparks a torrid encounter with consequences involving the different cultures, religious life and social life.
I enjoyed the music by Jay Wadley more than the story, especially the inclusion of two of my favourite pieces: Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No 4 in F minor Op 36 and Liszt’s Concerto for Piano and Orchestra No 1 in E flat major.