Since I’m on my Philip Roth kick, I decided to watch this movie based on one of his three best novels.
The movie is very disappointing, my friends. The story is sanitized of all complexity and reduced to “bad guys vs good guys.” This is unfortunate because Roth’s whole thing is that nothing is ever that simple and human beings are deeply imperfect. The filmmakers turned Swede Levov, the main character, into this angelic creature, the perfect father who has no life, no soul, and no existence outside of his love for his daughter. That’s definitely not the Swede of Roth’s novel. And it’s not any human parent on this planet, and thank God for that.
The movie completely erases Swede’s philandering, his second marriage, and anything in him that isn’t utter perfection. You couldn’t possibly find anything more antithetical to Roth’s way of seeing the world. The movie is completely anti-Roth. I have no idea how it’s possible to misunderstand the novel so badly.
I now want to re-watch The Human Stain. I watched it a while ago but was too mesmerized by Anthony Hopkins’ talent to notice much else about it.