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Peter Dinklage brings wit and charm to Amercian Dreamer

Peter Dinklage continues diversifying his acting portfolio with his latest starring role in "American Dreamer" from Vertical. Paul Dektor helms the film from a screenplay by Theodore Melfi, based on a true story from Chicago Public Radio's This American Life.

Phil Loder (Peter Dinklage) is a twice-divorced, frustrated, underpaid professor of economics whose grand dream of home ownership is tragically out of reach. When an incredible, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity comes his way, Phil strikes a deal with Astrid Finnelli (Shirley MacLaine), a lonely, childless, near-death widow who offers her sprawling estate for pennies. However, Phil quickly learns that the deal is too good to be true and that the American dream is not quite what it used to be.

I hadn't seen any trailers for the film; however, after reading the press kit and learning that Matt Dillon (he portrays the lead character's broker) and Danny Glover had supporting roles in the movie, as well as a script by Melfi, whose writing style I'm fond of, I approached the film with an open mind.

Director Paul Dektor masterfully weaves a narrative that explores themes of ambition, morality, and the elusive nature of success in contemporary society. As Phil navigates the intricate web of his arrangement with Astrid, the audience is taken on a rollercoaster of emotions, from hope and excitement to disillusionment and despair.

 Peter Dinklage, who delivers an earnest portrayal of Phil's desperation and determination with subtlety and depth, and Shirley MacLaine, who brings a haunting vulnerability to her portrayal of the enigmatic widow Astrid, further enrich the story with their performances. The supporting cast, including Matt Dillon, Danny Glover, Daniel Pudi, and Michelle Mylett, also contributes to the story.

The film explores the comedic aspects of the American dream, which is both timely and poignant. It reveals the harsh realities that underlie seemingly golden opportunities. The cinematography skillfully captures the contrast between Phil's initial optimism and the stark truth he ultimately faces, creating a visual narrative that mirrors the characters' emotional journeys.

While "The American Life" does not provide easy answers or neatly tied resolutions, it effectively initiates meaningful conversations about the nature of success, sacrifice, and the price of ambition. It is a poignant reminder that pursuing the American dream is a complex and often precarious endeavor fraught with pitfalls and moral dilemmas.

Final Grade: B-

"AMERICAN DREAMER" Is In Select Theaters and On Demand Now.


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