"AN AMERICAN AFFAIR"
by Kevin Carr
|| MOVIE: ** (out of 5 stars)
DVD EXPERIENCE: *1/2 (out of 5 stars)
Gretchen Mol as CATHERINE CASWELL
James Rebhorn as LUCIAN CARVER
Cameron Bright as ADAM STAFFORD
Mark Pellegrino as GRAHAM CASWELL
Perry Reeves as ADRIENNE STAFFORD
Noah Wyle as MIKE STAFFORD
Studio: Screen Media
Directed by: William Olsson
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Adam Stafford (Cameron Bright) is a quiet teenager living in the Washington D.C. area in 1963. He is also smitten with his attractive neighbor Catherine Caswell (Gretchen Mol). Soon, he strikes up a relationship with her by doing odd jobs at her house, and later discovers that she is having an affair with President Kennedy. Soon, the CIA steps in to make threats against everyone from Adamís family to the president himself.
WHAT I LIKED
Before I talk about anything else, can I express how tired I am of seeing Cameron Bright as the go-to guy for romances with older women. First, it was Nicole Kidman in ďBirth.Ē Now, itís Gretchen Mol in ďAn American Affair.Ē This just irritates me because heís not that great of an actor... and I would have killed to do this when I was his age. (Honestly, I think I was more honest in the latter part of that confession.)
Still, there are positive elements to ďAn American Affair.Ē It does provide a decent loss-of-innocence story with Bright in the lead. The cast also does a fine job, anchored with Gretchen Mol as the morally ambiguous love interest.
Thereís a bit of nostalgia to this film that we donít see all that often. This time in history tends to be idolized, especially when the letters J, F and K are thrown around together. However, ďAn American AffairĒ gives a possibly more realistic view of how people viewed the world back then, particularly those who werenít swept up in the romance of Camelot.
WHAT I DIDNíT LIKE
ďAn American Affair,Ē like many independent films, gets in its own way by not knowing what kind of story itís tell, and by not knowing whose story itís telling in the first place. On one hand, itís trying to tell the coming-of-age story of Adam. But then it starts to tell the story of Catherine, struggling with an absent husband and a super-secret affair. Then, in the end, it turns into a cloak and dagger threat with the CIA.
Ultimately, this film is made for someone who wants the nostalgia of the early 60s and want to examine ad nauseum the sexual tensions and political skullduggery surrounding President Kennedy.
While there were aspects of Adamís character that I could relate to, he just seemed to mope around too much. Catherine was the most interesting character, but even then she made some really terrible decisions. I found myself simply bored with the whole story and not caring who lived and who died.
The DVD comes with a small set of deleted scenes.
WHOíS GOING TO LIKE THIS MOVIE
People who just canít let go of JFK and his era.