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The plot against america hbo review


the plot against america hbo review

Soon, Bengelsdorf is parroting talking points about who is and isn't a “real American,” and how the Jews can be better “absorbed” into the. In an alternative universe, Charles Lindbergh defeats Franklin D Roosevelt in the 1940 United States presidential election and plans to impose a fascist regime. It follows the Levins, a close-knit Jewish family living in Newark, New Jersey as flagrant anti-Semitism begins to rise in the wake of.

The plot against america hbo review -

Across the pond, though, things are not so great. Having conquered France and most of Eastern Europe, Hitler begins his assault on the British. As President Franklin Roosevelt considers entering the war on behalf of the British and the French, aviation hero and Nazi sympathizer Charles Lindbergh announces his candidacy for the Republican nomination for president. (Lindbergh’s run is fictional. While he never ran for president, he was against entering the war until Pearl Harbor). This, of course, alarms the Levins and their Jewish neighbors and, while the poignant criticism against Lindbergh by newscaster Walter Winchell offers some comfort, tension in the community begins to rise.

But not all news is bad news. Herman has been offered a promotion, which will allow the family to move out of their cramped two-family house into a spacious single-family home outside the city. While the suburb is beautiful and calm, Bess points out that they would be the only Jewish family in the neighborhood and reminds Herman of her difficult childhood as part of the only Jewish household in her community. To make matters worse, the neighborhood is right near a German bar, where anti-Semitic comments are all too common and Lindbergh’s photo is propped up for all to see. Herman eventually decides to turn down the promotion, but that does little to quell Bess’ fears, who now worries that the company will see Herman’s rejection as a sign of disloyalty. (A note for those that are not experts in 1940s American history. The Jewish community was not assimilated back then as well as they are today. Universities imposed limits on the number of Jews they would accept, and it was difficult for them to rise up in certain professions.)

ALLLLLLVIN!

There have been some terrifying, essential, and, unfortunately, timely miniseries of late. HBO’s “Chernobyl” is a look back at the specter of manmade disaster combined with disinformation. Netflix’s “When They See Us” recalls an egregious example of racism in the justice system. And HBO’s “Years and Years” delivers a what-if about the near future, the environment, and technology wrapped in the warm story of a British family.

OK, so this type of miniseries is not exactly the kind of programming that’s going to soothe coronavirus anxiety and sorrow. Still, TV doesn’t come any sharper, if you’re a student of life and its social, cultural, and political realities.

Joining the fright club is HBO’s “The Plot Against America,” an intense new six-part miniseries from David Simon and Ed Burns of “The Wire” that airs on Monday nights. I can’t remember seeing a period drama — it’s set from 1940 to 1942 — that speaks so directly and specifically to the present moment. If this vision of our country doesn’t seem creepily relevant to you, you’re probably not paying attention.

Based on the 2004 novel by the late Philip Roth, it’s an alternate history in which FDR loses the 1940 presidential election to Charles Lindbergh, the anti-Semitic and fascistic aviation hero who stirs up populist rage as he promises to keep us out of World War II. The clips of the American president on a stage beside Nazis, and of the American flag beside the Nazi flag, are only some of the many newsreel images in the miniseries that will make you shudder.

The growing anti-Semitism in the United States, enabled by the Lindbergh administration’s contempt for Jews, is shown through the experiences of the Levin family (modeled after Roth’s) of Newark. “They’ve always been here,” one character says about anti-Semites in America. “Now they have permission to crawl out from under their rocks.” The parents, the outspoken Herman (Morgan Spector) and the quieter but wise Bess (Zoe Kazan), have different styles but, ultimately, the same values as they try to protect the family. Preteen son Phillip (Azhy Robertson) is an innocent kid who suffers growing anxiety about the state of the country, while the teenage Sandy (Caleb Malis) exhibits a disturbing naiveté about Lindbergh and his moves against the Jews.

There’s not a bum performance in the bunch, with Kazan and Anthony Boyle, as Herman’s nephew, particularly outstanding. Winona Ryder, as Bess’s lonely sister, and John Turturro as a Southern rabbi who tries to work with Lindbergh, are also quite effective, as they ignorantly opt for trust and optimism in a time of mass deception.

“The Plot Against America” is indelible piece of work about how politics reaches into personal lives.


Matthew Gilbert can be reached at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @MatthewGilbert.

Источник: https://www.bostonglobe.com/2020/03/16/arts/hbos-plot-against-america-is-timely-sharp/

Plot Against America captures a terrifying aspect of Nazism that Hunters misses

Nazis have never been hotter on TV than they are right now.

Thanks to the wannabe authoritarian in the White House and the white supremacist cronies filling out his cabinet, TV producers have been racing to bring symbolic depictions of Adolf Hitler and his Nazi army to the small screens. The symbolism practically writes itself.

On Amazon, Hunters offers the most obvious response to Donald Trump with its simple-but-effective revenge fantasy.

The creator of Hunters, David Weil, told Inverse in a recent interview that he sees Quentin Tarantino -- maker of Inglourious Basterds -- as “the master.” It’s no surprise Hunters takes a lot of what is great about Basterds and runs with it.

And on HBO, Westworld will get in on the fun in its third season with a new subplot devoted to a World War II-themed park full of robot Nazis.

But among this wave of fantasy stories about killing Nazis, only one, The Plot Against America, which debuts March 16 on HBO, accomplishes the most difficult and delicate aspect of telling a story about the Third Reich:the allure of Nazism.

Based on the 2004 novel by Phillip Roth, The Plot Against America explores an alternate history where President Franklin D. Roosevelt is challenged and defeated by Charles Lindbergh, the first man to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean. In real-life, Lindbergh expressed anti-Semitic and pro-German beliefs.

In The Plot Against America, those beliefs are masked by an isolationist slogan: “A vote for Lindbergh is a vote against war.” Lindbergh’s victory keeps America out of WWII and allows fascism to infiltrate the country in increasingly disturbing ways.

Roth’s book is told from the perspective of a young boy named Phillip, the youngest son of a Jewish family in New Jersey that gets caught up in Lindbergh’s rise to power. The HBO adaptation, from The Wire creators David Simon and Ed Burns, follows several members of the family, and devotes plenty of time to Phillip's older brother Sandy, revealing how fascism corrupts the minds of children.

When the story begins, Sandy is a young teenager hiding photos under his bed and sneaking off to see the presidential candidate land his plane at a local airport, despite constantly hearing from his parents and their friends that Lindbergh is a Jew-hating fascist. He doesn’t understand why a man he once saw as a hero is now considered a villain, but he can’t help but get caught up in the excitement.

But as Plot Against America progresses, Sandy's Lindbergh obsession is at least partially driven by a teenage desire to rebel, even if he’s enthralled by the power this fictional president represents. Sandy is old enough to know Hitler is evil, but not mature enough to realize that his own father isn’t “worse than Hitler” for refusing to let Sandy visit the White House. For Sandy, fascism represents the chance to defy his parents, and that’s something any 15-year-old would likely leap at.

The Nazis in Plot Against America are charming, charismatic, and good-looking. It’s easy to see why a child, or even an adult, might find that alluring. In a time where fascism is more relevant than it’s been in decades, it’s a sharp reminder that the most sinister things can also be enormously appealing in the moment.

Amazon’s new show Hunters misses this point almost entirely. Set in 1970s New York, the series follows a group of Nazi-hunters facing off against a secret network of Hitler supporters in America. With Al Pacino playing the lead Nazi-hunter, the show is plenty of fun. It also provides a powerful, if not totally accurate, depiction of the horrors of the Holocaust through a series of flashbacks. But Hunters falls flat in its depiction of the Nazis themselves.

In this show’s alternate history, Nazis are one-dimensional villains, more alien than human. There’s nothing alluring about them, and though we’re told they’re constantly adding to their ranks, it’s tough to imagine anyone supporting them. One young Aryan henchman assigned to surveil an FBI detective pursues his goal with the single-minded determination of Javier Bardem in No Country for Old Men. Yes, he’s terrifying, but he’s not particularly magnetic. You’re never concerned that an entire movement is going to spring up around him, as it does with Roth’s Lindbergh.

Hunters might make for good entertainment, but over the course of its 10 hour-long episodes, it doesn’t have much to say about the nature of fascism or the terrifying appeal of Nazism. In just six episodes, The Plot Against America does all that and more, reminding us the worst type of evil rarely presents itself as such. The true villains are the ones smart enough to make us think, even for a minute, that they might actually be the good guys.

Источник: https://www.inverse.com/entertainment/hunters-vs-plot-against-america-nazis-essay
Back in Newark, Sandy confronts Alvin about the thievery allegations, which he denies. Alvin explains that his buddy Shush stole the money and he just covered for the guy. This does little for Alvin’s cause, though. Phillip tells his mother about the gas station, which leads to a heated confrontation between Alvin and Herman. Furious at the accusations and the lack of trust his uncle displays towards him, Alvin packs his things and moves out.

After taking some time to calm down, Herman apologizes for making a scene and goes looking for Alvin to bring him home. But his troubled nephew has other plans. After one of his friends takes a beating from some anti-Semitic thugs, he and Shush head to the same German bar that Herman and the family drove by just a few days ago. They follow two drunken Germans on their way home and beat them to a pulp. “That’s for Daniel, you Nazi f—ks,” they yell out as they are fleeing the scene.

Now it’s your turn. Grade the premiere via the poll below, then hit the comments with your thoughts!

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Источник: https://tvline.com/2020/03/16/the-plot-against-america-premiere-recap-hbo/

‘The Plot Against America’ Review: A Cautionary Tale Four Years Too Late

By Tom Reimann

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"What if Trump was elected in 1940?" isn't a compelling question in 2020.

Told in a vacuum, HBO’s new limited series The Plot Against America, from The Wire creator David Simon and Ed Burns, is top-shelf prestige television. Based on Philip Roth’s acclaimed 2004 novel, the show takes place in an alternate history America in which Franklin D. Roosevelt is defeated in the 1940 election by hero pilot Charles Lindbergh. It follows the Levins, a close-knit Jewish family living in Newark, New Jersey as flagrant anti-Semitism begins to rise in the wake of Lindbergh’s election. It’s a gripping drama with outstanding performances, but I couldn’t stop wondering what the point of it all was. The entire purpose of the narrative device of an alternate history is to challenge and educate your audience with how things might have been, but when virtually every flagrant display of racist nationalism depicted in The Plot Against America is something that has happened in real-life America over the past four years, it’s hard to find the show’s main offer terribly compelling.

First, some background - in 1940, FDR was elected to an unprecedented third term as president (he would ultimately win a fourth term before dying in office in 1945). The divergent point in the series is the Republican National Convention in 1940, when famed pilot Charles Lindbergh is appointed as the Republican nominee instead of businessman Wendell Willkie. Lindbergh was staunchly against America’s involvement in World War II, instead favoring an appeasement policy with Adolf Hitler and Nazi Germany. In addition to being a hero pilot (he was the first person to complete a solo transatlantic flight, from New York to Paris), Lindbergh was a Eugenicist, a xenophobe, a probable Nazi sympathizer (he received a medal from Hitler’s second-in-command Hermann Göring), and a confirmed anti-Semite. In The Plot Against America, Lindbergh runs on a populist platform of keeping America, still reeling from the Great Depression, out of another devastating global conflict. In a sequence that echoes election night coverage from 2016, state after state is called for Lindbergh, and he defeats FDR in an upset.

Simon knows how to spin interpersonal drama in a way that almost blazes off the screen (he co-wrote the series with Burns and Reena Rexrode), and the characters in The Plot Against America easily carry the slack of its premise. Herman (MorganSpector), the Levin family patriarch, is a firm and serious man prone to outbursts of rage and disbelief at the injustice brewing in the country after Lindbergh’s election. Spector is electric in the role, bouncing between passionate anger, strength, and dignity as he is forced to face an increasingly hostile America loudly telling him that he and his family are no longer welcome. He’s frequently at odds with his oldest son Sandy (CalebMalis), who loves and supports Lindbergh and refuses to see the danger in the vitriol of the president’s supporters and the policies of his administration specifically targeting Jews. Similarly, Herman’s wife Bess (ZoeKazan) wrestles with her sister Evelyn’s (WinonaRyder) enthusiastic role in the Lindbergh White House alongside her husband, Rabbi Lionel Bengelsdorf (JohnTurturro), developing “integration” programs designed to break up Jewish communities and remove Jewish families from major cities. Herman’s volatile relationship with his headstrong nephew Alvin (AnthonyBoyle) adds to the tension in the home, until Alvin finally decides to defect to Canada and join the war. Meanwhile, the Levins' youngest son Philip (AzhyRobertson) tries to keep the peace in the family while simultaneously being too young to fully understand the magnitude of the darkness into which the country is spiraling.

As I said, Spector is the show’s absolute standout, but the supporting cast is no less incredible. Ryder delivers an uncharacteristic performance as the kind-hearted but foolish Evelyn, who is so taken in by her respect for Lionel and her sudden good fortune that she cannot see the very real horrors she is helping facilitate, and is deaf to Bess and Herman’s protests. Kazan is gut-wrenching as Bess, struggling to keep her wits about her for the sake of her children but growing more and more fearful of the dystopia threatening to swallow them. In a particularly haunting scene, the Levins are on a family trip to Washington, D.C. when a police officer offers to lead them to their hotel and Bess bursts into terrified tears, pointedly asking a bewildered Herman, “Where is he taking us?” Because for all of Herman’s outrage over Lindbergh’s anti-Semitic government, he still can’t believe that their lives might actually be in danger.

John Turturro is predictably excellent in his role as the drawling Southern rabbi Lionel, who firmly believes that preserving the lives of American Jews by keeping them out of the war is more important than intervening to stop Hitler’s Germany. (It’s important to note that America didn’t learn of the Holocaust until 1942, and that’s in real life. The show spans 1940-1942, and none of the characters ever express any knowledge of the Holocaust.) Turturro is endlessly charismatic but also frustratingly stubborn and myopic, and it was a weird feeling to be so angry at him. I’m pretty sure I’ve never been this mad at a Turturro character before. It was a new experience for me.

At only six episodes, the limited series is like a bullet train of storytelling, and never feels like it’s spinning its wheels. The finale in particular is one of the best episodes of television I’ve ever seen - the amorphous threat brewing over the previous five chapters suddenly coalesces into a powerful noose that begins rapidly tightening over the final 60 minutes. In terms of character drama and pure tension, I am struggling to think of a more effective chunk of TV.

But the series finale also presents the biggest stumbling block. The show’s ultimate resolution to America’s spreading unrest and violence (and, let’s face it, Naziism) is ludicrous to the point of being unforgivable. I’ll avoid specifics to keep from spoiling anything, but the story suddenly pivots into a ridiculous deus ex machina that is made all the more laughable because of the times in which we currently live. I don’t believe The Plot Against America’s climax for a second, because I’ve seen exactly how the right-wing, conspiracy-obsessed punditry currently lording over disinformation in this country would absolutely tear it apart for ammunition to sow an even further push into white nationalism. It’s embarrassing that the series doesn't come to the same realization. For what it’s worth, the ending is preserved from Roth’s novel, which was a similar point of criticism from some reviewers at the time of its release.

While this story may have been shocking and unthinkable when the book was published in 2004, in 2020 we’re experiencing America’s descent into racist fascism on an everyday basis. We don’t need to imagine what it would be like to live in an America in which the election of a populist nationalist president prompted a spike in hate crimes and xenophobic, anti-Semitic rhetoric, because it’s literally happening right outside my office as I write this. It’s hard to feel new outrage watching Herman scrub graffiti off of vandalized Jewish gravestones, because I’ve seen real people do the same thing in Missouri and Massachusetts and Nebraska, and around the world in France and Germany and Slovakia, within the last year. The Plot Against America has already been executed, and Simon’s warning has come several years too late.

Rating: ★★★

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About The Author
Tom Reimann (713 Articles Published)

Tom Reimann is a writer and comedian and somehow Senior Editor of Features at Collider. He has written for Cracked.com, Mad Magazine, BunnyEars.com, and Some More News, and is the co-founder of the Gamefully Unemployed podcast network.

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Источник: https://collider.com/the-plot-against-america-review-hbo/

HBO's The Plot Against America Star Explains Why The Alt-History Story Is So Effective And Relevant

Mild spoilers below for HBO's The Plot Against America.

One of television's most powerful and outspoken voices, David Simon took on the controversy-centered novel The Plot Against America as his latest HBO project. Following in author Philip Roth's footsteps, the show tells the alt-history story of aviator-turned-celebrity Charles Lindbergh's successful run at the U.S. presidency, and how it turned the country against itself, not unlike what's playing out in the current political climate. Star Morgan Spector knew early on that it was a special project, and now audiences are seeing just how gripping it is.

Morgan Spector, who plays Jewish family patriarch Herman Levin, spoke with CinemaBlend about The Plot Against America at this year's Television Critics Association winter press tour. The Homeland vet talked about his Philip Roth fandom, the relevance of Plot's storyline, who he thinks the audience should be made up of, and more. Read on!

On The Effectiveness Of The Plot Against America's Alt-History Approach

While most people know Charles Lindbergh for his impressive piloting efforts (to the point where even his plane's name is famous), or perhaps for the kidnapping of his infant son, there are likely many that are unaware of Lindbergh's xenophobic and racist views, or that he pushed hard against U.S. intervention in World War II. The Plot Against America takes Lindbergh's troublesome popularity up a notch by having him beat Franklin D. Roosevelt in the 1941 presidential election, sparking a chillingly awful downward spiral.

I asked Morgan Spector if he enjoyed (for lack of a better word) taking on an alt-history project like this, akin to Stephen King's 11/22/63, and he answered with:

The alt-history thing, it's like all speculative fiction. It's like sci-fi, right? Where what's interesting about it is always not how different it is from the world we live in, but how similar it is to the world we live in. In some ways, the more you depart from reality, the more that departure becomes a potent metaphor for analyzing the times that we're all living in. That's what I think is really effective about this style.

While it's not exactly in the sci-fi genre, The Plot Against America's build-up is even easier to comprehend now than it was back in 2004 when the book was written, considering how much society has been changed by partisan politics. (Thank goodness they didn't have social media back in the 1940s.)

On The Plot Against America's Relevance

In a very similar vein to the above topic, The Plot Against America star Morgan Spector talked about how in tune the miniseries' focus is with today's culture. When I asked him about jumping from the more currently relevant Homeland to the arguably more timeless story at the heart of Plot, here's what Spector told me:

I think everything strives for relevance, but I don't know. It's some potent cocktail of 24-hour cable news and social media, and the Internet has the collective digestive system of our polity. I think it means that we're just all fixated, and certainly the whole media class is just fixated on politics all the time, and so it feels impossible to make anything that isn't speaking to that. Even if you do, when it comes out, it'll be kind of filtered through that lens anyway. These are the times we're living in. In a big-picture sense, I'm just happy to be getting to work on interesting projects, but it's also exciting when things have the ambition to speak to the contemporary moment. That's always a worthwhile thing to be involved in.

To Morgan Spector's point, there are tons of movies that have come out over the years that, when viewing things from a modern perspective, absolutely seem politically motivated in one way or another. Whether that was actually the artists' intention, or whether it's because society is now so politically inclined, is quite hard to discern without personal input from those involved. Not much guesswork to be had with The Plot Against America, though.

On Who The Plot Against America's Audience Should Be

Regardless of the subject matter, HBO programming draws in audiences from all sides, whether it's for crime dramas like The Wire, cringe comedies like Curb Your Enthusiasm, or inspirational miniseries like Band of Brothers. And Morgan Spector hoped for The Plot Against America's audience to be equally well-rounded, with all manner of viewers taking in the anti-fascist story matter together. In his words:

First, what I hope is that the audience for this piece is not just an audience of the already persuaded. You know, the piece is anti-fascist, and that's not necessarily a Democrat or Republican issue. Americans, we're supposed to be anti-fascist as a country. So I think if you connect to that idea fundamentally and philosophically, then maybe you can come and enjoy this piece. And if you do, yeah, man. We all really wanted to make this special. We all felt like this was one of the rare chances where you could actually make something good. You know what I mean? [Laughs.] Maybe we did.

I also asked if Morgan Spector if he thought The Plot Against America might hold a candle to 2019's Chernobyl in terms of striking a resonant chord with audiences, and he said he would be perfectly fine with that, saying it was "cinematically ambitious" and "stunningly photographed."

On The Plot Against America's Building Tension

For its first two episodes, The Plot Against America took a fairly methodical approach to introducing the story and all of the major players involved, including John Turturro's Rabbi Lionel Bengelsdorf and Ben Cole's Charles Lindbergh himself. But that isn't to say they were slow or boring. It's more like the set-up in a horror movie, right before the evil monster strikes for the first time.

In that sense, fans shouldn't worry about The Plot Against America maintaining that same pacing, as everything kicks into high gear for the rest of the season. Here's how Morgan Spector put it:

Yeah, I think you really start out with the family. You're rooted in their everyday life; this is the life that, had nothing ever changed for them, this is the life that they're living. You have to get a sense of that, so you know and so you feel what is taken away from them, so you feel what is about to be destroyed. That first episode is really about establishing that, and the danger that starts to live on the horizon. Then from there on out, all the way to the end of the season, the stakes build and build, and the tension builds and builds.

As one might imagine, the story doesn't get wrapped up and tied off with a big bright bow in Episode 3, so definitely keep tuning in to see how harrowing The Plot Against America gets as Charles Lindbergh takes control.

On Tackling Philip Roth's Work As A Fan

Suitably enough, Morgan Spector was already a fan of Philip Roth when he landed The Plot Against America, which definitely helped inspire his performance. When I asked about his process for getting into the role, Spector brought up conversations he had with the miniseries' director, Minkie Spiro and show creator David Simon about "what their vision was" for Plot. He then said he dove back into Roth's work to help him get to then place where he could imagine himself within the character's life.

And then I was sort of left to do my own research, and really dive back into Roth. I've always loved Roth, and love his writing. I'd read Plot back when it came out, so I went back to the novel, and went back to a lot of Roth's other writing about his father. And then also did some research on the period. All of this preparatory to get a sense of what it was like to be a man at that time, what the expectations of someone like this would have been. What kind of the best-case scenario for his life would have been, and what his dreams [would be]. And really get a sense of his aspirations, and his love for his family and all that stuff. So yeah, that was all the imaginative work you do in anticipation of playing something like this.

It couldn't have been very heartwarming for any of the core actors to get into the imaginative work of playing these characters, considering their lives become flipped upside-down by Charles Lindbergh and this actions. But thankfully, acting isn't always about taking on the easiest roles, which makes a project like The Plot Against America all the more worthwhile on both sides of the camera.

The Plot Against America airs on HBO on Monday nights at 9:00 p.m. ET.

Nick is a Cajun Country native, and is often asked why he doesn't sound like that's the case. His love for his wife and daughters is almost equaled by his love of gasp-for-breath laughter and gasp-for-breath horror. A lifetime spent in the vicinity of a television screen led to his current dream job, as well as his knowledge of too many TV themes and ad jingles.

Источник: https://www.cinemablend.com/television/2493158/hbos-the-plot-against-america-star-explains-why-the-alt-history-story-is-so-effective-and-relevant
But the Levins’ troubles don’t end there. On the way home from school, Sandy and Phillip stop by the local gas station, where they are accosted by the owner who claims Alvin (Derry Girls’ Anthony Boyle), Herman’s orphaned adult nephew who lives with the family, stole money while working for him. Sandy swears Phillip to secrecy, knowing that the news would only worsen the growing tension between Alvin and his uncle.

That is not the only secret the two brothers share. Turns out that Sandy is a major Lindbergh fan and refuses to tear up the three beautiful sketches he drew of his hero. He makes Phillip promise to not tell their parents that he is keeping them, noting that if they found out they would also make Phillip throw away his Lindbergh stamp from his collection.

SISTA SISTA Across the pond, though, things are not so great. Having conquered France and most of Eastern Europe, Hitler begins his assault on the British. As President Franklin Roosevelt considers entering the war on behalf of the British and the French, aviation hero and Nazi sympathizer Charles Lindbergh announces his candidacy for the Republican nomination for president. (Lindbergh’s run is fictional. While he never ran for president, he was against entering the war until Pearl Harbor). This, of course, alarms the Levins and their Jewish neighbors and, while the poignant criticism against Lindbergh by newscaster Walter The plot against america hbo review offers some comfort, tension in the community begins to rise.

But not all news is bad news. Herman has been offered a promotion, which will allow the family to move out of their cramped two-family house into a spacious single-family home outside the city. While the suburb is beautiful and calm, Bess points out that they would be the only Jewish family in the neighborhood and reminds Herman of her difficult childhood as part of the only Jewish household in her community. To make matters worse, the the plot against america hbo review is right near a German bar, where anti-Semitic comments are all too common and Lindbergh’s photo is propped up for all to see. Herman eventually decides to turn down the promotion, but that does little to quell Bess’ fears, who now worries that the company will see Herman’s rejection as a sign of disloyalty. (A note for those that are not experts in 1940s American history. The Jewish community was not assimilated back then as well as they are today. Universities imposed limits on the number of Jews they would the plot against america hbo review, and it was difficult for them to rise up in certain professions.)

ALLLLLLVIN! what is the phone number for xfinity Meanwhile, Bess’ sister Evelyn (Stranger Things’ Winona Ryder) asks her to watch their elderly mother for the day so she can meet up with Angelo, her married, Italian lover. Bess reluctantly agrees to give her older sister the day off and heads to her mother’s house, where she discovers that the matriarch of the family is showing early signs of dementia.

Evelyn heads to New York to spend the day with Angelo, but things don’t go as she planned. Angelo reveals that has no intention of leaving his family, fearful of what a divorce would do to his children and mother. However, her fortunes take a turn when she hits it off with the charismatic Rabbi Lionel Bengelsdorf (The Night Of’s John Turturro) at her Teacher’s Union meeting.

FIGHTING BACK max&format=png" alt="The Plot Against America">The Plot Against America

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Despite living through the Depression, the Levins have it pretty swell. Dad Herman (Homeland’s Morgan Spector) goes to work every day and earns enough to provide for his family; mom Elizabeth “Bess” (The Deuce’s Zoe Kazan) keeps the house in order and makes sure everyone is home by dinner; oldest child Sandy draws and flirts with local girls, while his younger brother Phillip collects stamps and dutifully sings the American national anthem at school.

TROUBLE AT HOME AND ABROAD

the plot against america hbo review

Not a Movie Snob - The Plot Against America (HBO 2020)

Posted on Saturday, May 02, 2020 at 05:00 PM

"They call us 'others'.they're the others. He should not be president. It's as simple as that"

The Plot Against America (HBO 2020)

Movie Review by Not a Movie Snob X CalgaryMovies.com

The Plot Against America is a 'what-if' miniseries, that ponders what things would have been like if Charles Lindbergh became president and America never intervened in WWII. But what it's really about is Trump. What America looked like after he won an improbable victory, and ponders what America will look like if he is reelected.

The series focuses on the plight of the plot against america hbo review Levin family. Working class Jewish Americans, Roosevelt supporters and critics of Lindbergh's anti-semitic campaign to become POTUS. Lindbergh, in the show and in real life, is a war the plot against america hbo review, a celebrity and a business tycoon. He has no political qualifications to hold the highest office in the plot against america hbo review land, so no one takes his blowhard campaigning, one built on stoking the 1st year anniversary gifts for boyfriend of hate for the so called non-American 'others' seriously (sound familiar yet?) But the Levin's vastly underestimate just how bigoted and racist their country is, and Lindbergh wins by a landslide. As a result, America slowly deteriorates into another version of Nazi Germany, with Lindbergh supporters terrorizing Jewish families all over the country, having become emboldened by their new leader to no longer feel the need to hide their hatred in the shadows. Racism is now in broad daylight (still sounding familiar?)

The show is based on a Philip Roth book that came out in 2004, well before the Trump circus and while some thought it was an allegory for the Bush administration, Roth denied it had anything to do with George The plot against america hbo review. As it turns out, Roth was prophesying a far more insidious administration awaiting us in the next decade. It was adapted for television by David Simon and Ed Burns. The men behind other novelistic television shows and miniseries, including Generation Kill, Show Me A Hero, The Deuce and, most famously, The Wire, which is perhaps the greatest television drama ever made.

Ok. So yes, this is a show about a fictional Jewish family, in fictional WWII era America (a war America takes no part in, resulting in Nazi victories over France and England), about a non fictional man winning a presidency that in reality went to Roosevelt. But there's no denying what Simons and Burns are trying to tell us by giving us this show at this moment. Essentially: beware the power of hate. Simons has made no secret of his dislike for Trump and he pulls no punches when drawing through lines between the political climate in the show and the political climate in America today. But he's not exaggerating. The disturbing realities the Levin family are faced with the plot against america hbo review the show are the disturbing realities of so many non-white citizens in America today. Citizen that live with the fear of deportation, discrimination or bias because their president is telling everyone that they are the 'others'.

In the show Herman Levin stubbornly and defiantly stands up against the Lindbergh administration. He refuses to allow this anti-semite to run him out of the country and head for Canada, where many of his friends and family are going to find a more accepting refuge. One of his friends moves his family to Winnipeg, which is almost certainly the first time Winnipeg has ever been mentioned in an HBO show.
Levin's resolve slowly diminishes as the series rolls along and the attacks against the Jews, not only in New Jersey, where they live, but in many parts of the country, intensify. By the time Levin defeatedly admits they should have gone to Canada when they the plot against america hbo review the chance, the borders have been closed and they are stuck in the anti-Jewish hell of Lindbergh's creation.

The Plot Against America works perfectly as a miniseries. This is not a story that needs to go on and on over multiple seasons. And it's too much story for a single movie. It also encompasses several years of the Levin family's life, which is hard to convey in film. The miniseries is the best format for visual storytelling. Better than a two hour movie, which can often feel rushed. Better than a multi-season television show, which are usually too long, leading to several episodes a season where the writers have brain farts or writing blocks. In a miniseries, a format which Simons has perfected, you're in and out in six or so hours. Each episodic chapter is an easily digestible hour. Long enough to flesh out character archs and narrative depth, but not so long as to overstay its welcome. Last year's Chernobyl miniseries was the ultimate example of this.

It would feel hyperbolic, after all I've said about the show, to now say that it's perhaps the most important series to watch at this point in time, with an American election just over the next horizon. But if you want something to wile away six hours of your life that allows you to reflect on the sorry state of political affairs in America, while also showcasing upper tier writing, directing, acting and set design, then The Plot Against America the plot against america hbo review the show for you.

Rating: ****

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NOTE: The showtimes listed on CalgaryMovies.com come directly from the theatres' announced schedules, which are distributed to us on a weekly basis. All showtimes are subject to change without notice or recourse to CalgaryMovies.com.

Источник: http://www.calgarymovies.com/blogs/8-not-a-movie-snob/posts/1142-the-plot-against-america-hbo-2020?listings=1
the plot against america hbo review

The plot against america hbo review -

Plot Against America captures a terrifying aspect of Nazism that Hunters misses

Nazis have never been hotter on TV than they are right now.

Thanks to the wannabe authoritarian in the White House and the white supremacist cronies filling out his cabinet, TV producers have been racing to bring symbolic depictions of Adolf Hitler and his Nazi army to the small screens. The symbolism practically writes itself.

On Amazon, Hunters offers the most obvious response to Donald Trump with its simple-but-effective revenge fantasy.

The creator of Hunters, David Weil, told Inverse in a recent interview that he sees Quentin Tarantino -- maker of Inglourious Basterds -- as “the master.” It’s no surprise Hunters takes a lot of what is great about Basterds and runs with it.

And on HBO, Westworld will get in on the fun in its third season with a new subplot devoted to a World War II-themed park full of robot Nazis.

But among this wave of fantasy stories about killing Nazis, only one, The Plot Against America, which debuts March 16 on HBO, accomplishes the most difficult and delicate aspect of telling a story about the Third Reich:the allure of Nazism.

Based on the 2004 novel by Phillip Roth, The Plot Against America explores an alternate history where President Franklin D. Roosevelt is challenged and defeated by Charles Lindbergh, the first man to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean. In real-life, Lindbergh expressed anti-Semitic and pro-German beliefs.

In The Plot Against America, those beliefs are masked by an isolationist slogan: “A vote for Lindbergh is a vote against war.” Lindbergh’s victory keeps America out of WWII and allows fascism to infiltrate the country in increasingly disturbing ways.

Roth’s book is told from the perspective of a young boy named Phillip, the youngest son of a Jewish family in New Jersey that gets caught up in Lindbergh’s rise to power. The HBO adaptation, from The Wire creators David Simon and Ed Burns, follows several members of the family, and devotes plenty of time to Phillip's older brother Sandy, revealing how fascism corrupts the minds of children.

When the story begins, Sandy is a young teenager hiding photos under his bed and sneaking off to see the presidential candidate land his plane at a local airport, despite constantly hearing from his parents and their friends that Lindbergh is a Jew-hating fascist. He doesn’t understand why a man he once saw as a hero is now considered a villain, but he can’t help but get caught up in the excitement.

But as Plot Against America progresses, Sandy's Lindbergh obsession is at least partially driven by a teenage desire to rebel, even if he’s enthralled by the power this fictional president represents. Sandy is old enough to know Hitler is evil, but not mature enough to realize that his own father isn’t “worse than Hitler” for refusing to let Sandy visit the White House. For Sandy, fascism represents the chance to defy his parents, and that’s something any 15-year-old would likely leap at.

The Nazis in Plot Against America are charming, charismatic, and good-looking. It’s easy to see why a child, or even an adult, might find that alluring. In a time where fascism is more relevant than it’s been in decades, it’s a sharp reminder that the most sinister things can also be enormously appealing in the moment.

Amazon’s new show Hunters misses this point almost entirely. Set in 1970s New York, the series follows a group of Nazi-hunters facing off against a secret network of Hitler supporters in America. With Al Pacino playing the lead Nazi-hunter, the show is plenty of fun. It also provides a powerful, if not totally accurate, depiction of the horrors of the Holocaust through a series of flashbacks. But Hunters falls flat in its depiction of the Nazis themselves.

In this show’s alternate history, Nazis are one-dimensional villains, more alien than human. There’s nothing alluring about them, and though we’re told they’re constantly adding to their ranks, it’s tough to imagine anyone supporting them. One young Aryan henchman assigned to surveil an FBI detective pursues his goal with the single-minded determination of Javier Bardem in No Country for Old Men. Yes, he’s terrifying, but he’s not particularly magnetic. You’re never concerned that an entire movement is going to spring up around him, as it does with Roth’s Lindbergh.

Hunters might make for good entertainment, but over the course of its 10 hour-long episodes, it doesn’t have much to say about the nature of fascism or the terrifying appeal of Nazism. In just six episodes, The Plot Against America does all that and more, reminding us the worst type of evil rarely presents itself as such. The true villains are the ones smart enough to make us think, even for a minute, that they might actually be the good guys.

Источник: https://www.inverse.com/entertainment/hunters-vs-plot-against-america-nazis-essay

‘The Plot Against America’ Review: A Cautionary Tale Four Years Too Late

By Tom Reimann

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"What if Trump was elected in 1940?" isn't a compelling question in 2020.

Told in a vacuum, HBO’s new limited series The Plot Against America, from The Wire creator David Simon and Ed Burns, is top-shelf prestige television. Based on Philip Roth’s acclaimed 2004 novel, the show takes place in an alternate history America in which Franklin D. Roosevelt is defeated in the 1940 election by hero pilot Charles Lindbergh. It follows the Levins, a close-knit Jewish family living in Newark, New Jersey as flagrant anti-Semitism begins to rise in the wake of Lindbergh’s election. It’s a gripping drama with outstanding performances, but I couldn’t stop wondering what the point of it all was. The entire purpose of the narrative device of an alternate history is to challenge and educate your audience with how things might have been, but when virtually every flagrant display of racist nationalism depicted in The Plot Against America is something that has happened in real-life America over the past four years, it’s hard to find the show’s main offer terribly compelling.

First, some background - in 1940, FDR was elected to an unprecedented third term as president (he would ultimately win a fourth term before dying in office in 1945). The divergent point in the series is the Republican National Convention in 1940, when famed pilot Charles Lindbergh is appointed as the Republican nominee instead of businessman Wendell Willkie. Lindbergh was staunchly against America’s involvement in World War II, instead favoring an appeasement policy with Adolf Hitler and Nazi Germany. In addition to being a hero pilot (he was the first person to complete a solo transatlantic flight, from New York to Paris), Lindbergh was a Eugenicist, a xenophobe, a probable Nazi sympathizer (he received a medal from Hitler’s second-in-command Hermann Göring), and a confirmed anti-Semite. In The Plot Against America, Lindbergh runs on a populist platform of keeping America, still reeling from the Great Depression, out of another devastating global conflict. In a sequence that echoes election night coverage from 2016, state after state is called for Lindbergh, and he defeats FDR in an upset.

Simon knows how to spin interpersonal drama in a way that almost blazes off the screen (he co-wrote the series with Burns and Reena Rexrode), and the characters in The Plot Against America easily carry the slack of its premise. Herman (MorganSpector), the Levin family patriarch, is a firm and serious man prone to outbursts of rage and disbelief at the injustice brewing in the country after Lindbergh’s election. Spector is electric in the role, bouncing between passionate anger, strength, and dignity as he is forced to face an increasingly hostile America loudly telling him that he and his family are no longer welcome. He’s frequently at odds with his oldest son Sandy (CalebMalis), who loves and supports Lindbergh and refuses to see the danger in the vitriol of the president’s supporters and the policies of his administration specifically targeting Jews. Similarly, Herman’s wife Bess (ZoeKazan) wrestles with her sister Evelyn’s (WinonaRyder) enthusiastic role in the Lindbergh White House alongside her husband, Rabbi Lionel Bengelsdorf (JohnTurturro), developing “integration” programs designed to break up Jewish communities and remove Jewish families from major cities. Herman’s volatile relationship with his headstrong nephew Alvin (AnthonyBoyle) adds to the tension in the home, until Alvin finally decides to defect to Canada and join the war. Meanwhile, the Levins' youngest son Philip (AzhyRobertson) tries to keep the peace in the family while simultaneously being too young to fully understand the magnitude of the darkness into which the country is spiraling.

As I said, Spector is the show’s absolute standout, but the supporting cast is no less incredible. Ryder delivers an uncharacteristic performance as the kind-hearted but foolish Evelyn, who is so taken in by her respect for Lionel and her sudden good fortune that she cannot see the very real horrors she is helping facilitate, and is deaf to Bess and Herman’s protests. Kazan is gut-wrenching as Bess, struggling to keep her wits about her for the sake of her children but growing more and more fearful of the dystopia threatening to swallow them. In a particularly haunting scene, the Levins are on a family trip to Washington, D.C. when a police officer offers to lead them to their hotel and Bess bursts into terrified tears, pointedly asking a bewildered Herman, “Where is he taking us?” Because for all of Herman’s outrage over Lindbergh’s anti-Semitic government, he still can’t believe that their lives might actually be in danger.

John Turturro is predictably excellent in his role as the drawling Southern rabbi Lionel, who firmly believes that preserving the lives of American Jews by keeping them out of the war is more important than intervening to stop Hitler’s Germany. (It’s important to note that America didn’t learn of the Holocaust until 1942, and that’s in real life. The show spans 1940-1942, and none of the characters ever express any knowledge of the Holocaust.) Turturro is endlessly charismatic but also frustratingly stubborn and myopic, and it was a weird feeling to be so angry at him. I’m pretty sure I’ve never been this mad at a Turturro character before. It was a new experience for me.

At only six episodes, the limited series is like a bullet train of storytelling, and never feels like it’s spinning its wheels. The finale in particular is one of the best episodes of television I’ve ever seen - the amorphous threat brewing over the previous five chapters suddenly coalesces into a powerful noose that begins rapidly tightening over the final 60 minutes. In terms of character drama and pure tension, I am struggling to think of a more effective chunk of TV.

But the series finale also presents the biggest stumbling block. The show’s ultimate resolution to America’s spreading unrest and violence (and, let’s face it, Naziism) is ludicrous to the point of being unforgivable. I’ll avoid specifics to keep from spoiling anything, but the story suddenly pivots into a ridiculous deus ex machina that is made all the more laughable because of the times in which we currently live. I don’t believe The Plot Against America’s climax for a second, because I’ve seen exactly how the right-wing, conspiracy-obsessed punditry currently lording over disinformation in this country would absolutely tear it apart for ammunition to sow an even further push into white nationalism. It’s embarrassing that the series doesn't come to the same realization. For what it’s worth, the ending is preserved from Roth’s novel, which was a similar point of criticism from some reviewers at the time of its release.

While this story may have been shocking and unthinkable when the book was published in 2004, in 2020 we’re experiencing America’s descent into racist fascism on an everyday basis. We don’t need to imagine what it would be like to live in an America in which the election of a populist nationalist president prompted a spike in hate crimes and xenophobic, anti-Semitic rhetoric, because it’s literally happening right outside my office as I write this. It’s hard to feel new outrage watching Herman scrub graffiti off of vandalized Jewish gravestones, because I’ve seen real people do the same thing in Missouri and Massachusetts and Nebraska, and around the world in France and Germany and Slovakia, within the last year. The Plot Against America has already been executed, and Simon’s warning has come several years too late.

Rating: ★★★

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About The Author
Tom Reimann (713 Articles Published)

Tom Reimann is a writer and comedian and somehow Senior Editor of Features at Collider. He has written for Cracked.com, Mad Magazine, BunnyEars.com, and Some More News, and is the co-founder of the Gamefully Unemployed podcast network.

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Источник: https://collider.com/the-plot-against-america-review-hbo/
But the Levins’ troubles don’t end there. On the way home from school, Sandy and Phillip stop by the local gas station, where they are accosted by the owner who claims Alvin (Derry Girls’ Anthony Boyle), Herman’s orphaned adult nephew who lives with the family, stole money while working for him. Sandy swears Phillip to secrecy, knowing that the news would only worsen the growing tension between Alvin and his uncle.

That is not the only secret the two brothers share. Turns out that Sandy is a major Lindbergh fan and refuses to tear up the three beautiful sketches he drew of his hero. He makes Phillip promise to not tell their parents that he is keeping them, noting that if they found out they would also make Phillip throw away his Lindbergh stamp from his collection.

SISTA SISTA

Unlike recent depictions of fascism, David Simon’s Plot Against America refuses to sanitize or glorify hatred

Image for article titled Unlike recent depictions of fascism, David Simon’s Plot Against America refuses to sanitize or glorify hatred

The Plot Against America, David Simon’s engrossing HBO series based on Philip Roth’s 2004 novel of the same name, is not the first series in the last few years to take up the mantle of resistance against the rise of fascism, but it is the most artful. Unlike other shows, such as The Handmaid’s Tale and Hunters, that have courted controversy through their depictions of intense brutality that borders on torture porn, The Plot Against America refuses to use cheap shocks, instead focusing on how its characters confront their slow-building anxieties and sense of powerlessness in the face of an increasingly hateful America.

Like the book it is based on, the series takes place in an alternative history, one where Charles Lindbergh, American aviator hero and Nazi sympathizer, is elected president. The series then looks at how a working-class Jewish family in New Jersey copes with the far-reaching changes that come with the new administration. Over the course of six propulsive episodes, we see how rising anti-semitism begins to encroach on each of their lives, even as some family members refuse to see the administration’s role in stoking hate.

ReviewsPre-Air

A

The Plot Against America

Based on

The Plot Against America by Philip Roth

Starring

Winona Ryder, Zoe Kazan, John Turturro, Morgan Spector, Anthony Boyle, Azhy Robertson, Caleb Malis

Premieres

Monday, March 16 at 9 p.m. Eastern on HBO

Format

Hour-long drama; complete miniseries watched for review

Critics of Roth’s work cite the lack of layered female characters among its weaknesses, but here they’re given tremendous depth and complexity. Winona Ryder plays Evelyn Finkel as a curiously warm-hearted villain, one who loves her family but who also ends up sacrificing them to the altar of Lindbergh when she becomes involved with Rabbi Lionel Bengelsdorf, played seductively by John Turturro.

Likewise, Zoe Kazan transforms the role of Bess Levin from quiet and supportive housewife into a member of the powerful resistance. More than anyone else, Bess sees the ways in which the America she loves is slowly being taken over by rising hatred. Unlike her husband, Herman Levin, played brilliantly by Morgan Spector, Bess is less concerned with fighting back against the forces eroding America’s values than in planning ways that her family could potentially escape. Kazan imbues Bess with a kind of quiet and firm resolve, and the result is a performance that is as inspiring as it is devastating.

One of the other great feats of The Plot Against America presents an authentic vision of what it means to be Jewish. While some recent series like The Marvelous Mrs. Maiseland Hunters have depicted Judaism by amping up stereotypes (thick accents, overhead shots of matzo ball soup, and copious exclamations of “Oy vey!”), The Plot Against America is invested in portraying a deeply Jewish sensibility, one that is both subtle and nuanced. We see shots of mezuzahs on doors; we hear words in Hebrew and Yiddish that come up in natural conversation; we watch Jewish American families go to temple and plan Shabbat dinners, all the while not drawing copious amounts of attention to the fact that they’re doing so. Moreover, no two Jewish characters share the same exact beliefs or responses to the rising tide of terror against their community. In this way, Jews are never presented as strange or exotic, but simply as ordinary people trying to survive increasingly hate-filled times.

In the same way, some of the most genuinely affecting scenes throughout the series focus on grief rather than horror. For Bess and Herman, one of the greatest tragedies of the Lindbergh era is that their children are growing up under a kind of constant fear, one that will always shape the way they see the world. The Levins’ youngest son, Philip (Azhy Robertson), is plagued by nightmares and crying spells, while his older brother, Sandy (Caleb Malis), attempts to avoid his own fears by embracing the “America First” projects that his Aunt Evelyn encourages him to support. So many of the most haunting scenes don’t involve physical violence at all, but a heightened sense of loneliness that comes from being more and more isolated from the world at large.

In this way, The Plot Against America neither sanitizes hatred nor rubs it in our faces for the sake of entertainment. We see old black-and-white newsreel clips that show Jewish families in Europe being rounded up, but we don’t linger on shots of people being killed. We see Jewish families scrubbing swastikas off of gravestones and hear people calling out slurs, but we focus more on the emotional effect this has on each character, rather than leering at unimaginable horrors. The goal of The Plot Against America isn’t to overwhelm audience members with suffering, or to shock us into action; instead, its aim is to remind us of our shared humanity and how essential it is for us to be vigilant against hatred of all kinds.


Reviews by Noel Murray will run weekly beginning March 16.

TVReviewsPre-Air

Источник: https://www.avclub.com/unlike-recent-depictions-of-fascism-david-simon-s-plot-1842160692
Across the pond, though, things are not so great. Having conquered France and most of Eastern Europe, Hitler begins his assault on the British. As President Franklin Roosevelt considers entering the war on behalf of the British and the French, aviation hero and Nazi sympathizer Charles Lindbergh announces his candidacy for the Republican nomination for president. (Lindbergh’s run is fictional. While he never ran for president, he was against entering the war until Pearl Harbor). This, of course, alarms the Levins and their Jewish neighbors and, while the poignant criticism against Lindbergh by newscaster Walter Winchell offers some comfort, tension in the community begins to rise.

But not all news is bad news. Herman has been offered a promotion, which will allow the family to move out of their cramped two-family house into a spacious single-family home outside the city. While the suburb is beautiful and calm, Bess points out that they would be the only Jewish family in the neighborhood and reminds Herman of her difficult childhood as part of the only Jewish household in her community. To make matters worse, the neighborhood is right near a German bar, where anti-Semitic comments are all too common and Lindbergh’s photo is propped up for all to see. Herman eventually decides to turn down the promotion, but that does little to quell Bess’ fears, who now worries that the company will see Herman’s rejection as a sign of disloyalty. (A note for those that are not experts in 1940s American history. The Jewish community was not assimilated back then as well as they are today. Universities imposed limits on the number of Jews they would accept, and it was difficult for them to rise up in certain professions.)

ALLLLLLVIN!

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