"features the best ever performance by Logan Lerman and incredibly written dialogue for viewers to sink their teeth into"

Logan Lerman proved he could play socially awkward characters in 2012's coming-of-age drama The Perks of Being a Wallflower and he nails the persona once again in Indignation, another coming-of-age drama.

Both films deal with mental health issues, social anxiety, and non-conformity but Indignation is a period piece, set against the backdrop of the Korean War, and at a college, whereas Perks was in a modern-day high school. Lerman’s character is also significantly different – in Perks, he wanted to make friends, whereas in Indignation, he is stubborn and likes his all-work, no-play lifestyle.

The film is set in 1951, with Marcus (Lerman) attending a college in Ohio on a scholarship while most of his friends have been enlisted to fight in the Korean War. He is one of the few Jews on campus, his father manages to be overbearing all the way from New Jersey, he has issues with attending chapel which puts him at odds with Dean Caudwell (Tracy Letts) and he experiences his first sexual encounter with Olivia (Sarah Gadon) on their first date, which he has trouble understanding.

There isn’t a great deal going on plot-wise, the audience are mostly just witnessing Marcus’ college experience and the decisions he makes, which he says in his narration at the start will lead up to his death. Just because there isn’t a massive storyline doesn’t make this anymore rich and absorbing. The script, written by first-time director James Schamus from Philip Roth’s novel of the same name, is the strongest element of the film. It is full of wonderful moments such as a debate between Marcus and the Dean which is substantially longer than you would think and is such a pleasure to watch. It is so dynamic despite being just a static two-hander scene and that’s because the writing is so strong.

The performances also deserve praise because this is the best I have ever seen Lerman and Gadon and Letts is on fire as always. Lerman’s character is confusing, at times unlikable and it’s hard to understand him but he eventually wins you over so you are following his struggles and journey, and Gadon portrays a girl with mental issues so believably and without cliché. She is not the stereotypical version, which is refreshing.

The film does go on for a bit too long and some of the scenes could have been chopped, especially considering most of them don’t really affect the general plot too much. I did start to wonder how it would all be wrapped up and where it was heading. It had such a cool premise that I expected more – for there to be this incredible plot whereas it doesn’t really go anywhere, it just meanders along. It’s still a well-made film and interesting to watch, but I felt disappointed by the conclusion.

Indignation features the best ever performance by Logan Lerman and incredibly written dialogue for viewers to sink their teeth into.