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The Specific Pastoral is a 2019 American Drama film written by Jake Johnson & Derek Connolly. Directed by Colin Trevorrow it follows a 40 year old gay Ohio man Danny who has Aspergers Syndrome struggling to after two years of living alone to properly reconnect with his family and friends following a series of traumas he has undergone.

The film stars Jake Johnson, Kelli Berglund, James Brolin, Jenna Ushkowitz, Chad Donella, Nick Robinson, Carole Bouqet, Diego Klattenhoff and Adam Rippon (in his first film role).

It was released at the Cairns Film Festival on February 14th, 2019 Toronto International Film Festival on May 17th, 2019 and theatrically on October 8th, 2019.

It garnered Academy Awards for Best Original Screenplay and Best Actor for Johnson's lead performance.

Plot

On a car trip along the freeway passenger Danny Harlowe has an anxiety attack, feeling the constant sensation to urinate, which prompts friend and driver Elsie to stop. Other passenger and friend Andre offers to stay with him but he politely declines as they reach a nearby supermarket where he uses the restroom. Travelling onward Danny walks over to the local train station nearby and catches a train home, beginning a long walk to his house where he lives alone.

Over the course of the next two years Danny who is dealing with the hindrance of anxiety and Aspergers moves onward from a sexual assault after an app organised hook-up, where an invited guest and an arriving stranger rape him in his room, while his middle brother Matt is temporarily living with him.

The police are contacted, along with the emergency contact of his mother and her officer husband Collin. With the complicated set-up of the crime, in which Danny's phone was also stolen the decision is reached in the next 48 hours to not proceed with any charges. Matt and Danny's relationship becomes strained from that point onward, leading to further isolation.

Closest friends Andre, and kind christian Zac are estranged as Andre following a two year period of recreational drug use, partying and drinking resulted in a car accident, which ultimately ended in her moving to North Carolina to live with her lesbian sister Anna. The two remain in phone contact while Andre prepares to visit for Danny's upcoming 40th birthday. Zac however is busy with his environmental studies and on a quick visit between the time of Zac's surprise birthday organised by his housemates to a sleepover at his, he has departed for travels across Asia.

Danny who had struggled to find employment in between the time of creative writing and his traumatic break-up from his former partner Xavier, lands a revolving restaurant position at a local Vietnamese restaurant. Danny however makes many mistakes and is eventually not called in for anymore shifts devastating him.

Former high school friend Kimberley Senning moves in a few streets away from Danny's flat and the two begin consistently catching up as friends, eventually starting their own exercise class schedule, clashing with Danny's limited opportunities to see his father, Matt and youngest brother Jake who all have a gym workout schedule.

Mother Cheyenne descends into further alcoholism and a toxic relationship with Collin, whom she has begun abusing in out of hand drunken arguments.

On a grocery trip she offers to take him on, the two get into a heated argument in public, ending their contact for awhile.

Danny almost following his sexual assault finds a healthy intimate connection with Andre's ex-boyfriend Sean, who becomes a frequent guest at his following nights out clubbing, and takes him to an Oktoberfest festival with a now back in Ohio Andre, and former friends and couple Elsie and Chris. Sean almost makes a pass while drunk in the restroom having Danny stay with him to help him get dressed. The aftermath results in an unstable and speed dependent Sean abusing Danny over message, and causing a rift in Andre and his friendship.

Danny begins sleeping with a former elementary school classmate and flamboyant local sandwich bar manager Tom, who eventually moves for Toledo. Danny contemplates suicide as he gains weight and Kim becomes caught up in a new relationship, and work. However in the week leading up to his birthday Matt moves in, Danny helping with their father to move in his television and furnishing. A heartfelt moment occurs between the two as his father congratulates him on despite all his insufficiency as an adult, being kind and positive, the two make birthday plans for him.

The film ends at Danny's 40th dinner which Zac, Kim, Andre, Tom and his father's side including Matt and Jake attend. His mother calls in after to drop off some movies for his birthday.

Cast

  • Jake Johnson as Danny Harlowe
  • Kelli Berglund as Andre Reese
  • James Brolin as Maury Harlowe
  • Jenna Ushkowitz as Kim Senning
  • Chad Donella as Matt Harlowe
  • Nick Robinson as Jake Harlowe
  • Carole Bouqet as Cheyenne Douglas
  • Diego Klattenhoff as Sean Russ
  • Adam Rippon as Tom Bottson
  • Ethan Embry as Zac Moffet
  • Ken Baumann as Xavier Dupre
  • Alfie Allen as The Stranger
  • Jesse Plemons as Michael Cetivo
  • Kathleen Quinlan as Real Estate Vicki
  • Britt Robertson as Elsie Bennett
  • Eric Stoltz as Chris Gold
  • Chet Hanks as Young Danny
  • Elle Fanning as Young Andre
  • Go-eun Kim as Young Kim
  • Bogdan Iancu as Young Xavier
  • Charlie Tahan as Young Matt
  • Aedan Duckworth as Young Jake
  • Cung Le as Cam
  • Kieu Chinh as Thuy Nyugen
  • Ngo Thanh Van as Chau
  • Tran Thanh as Antony
  • Linh Dan Pham as Met
  • Steve Nguyen as John Nyugen
  • Vanessa Morgan as Waitress Jess
  • Jack Dylan Grazer as Waiter Max
  • Eden Sher as Waitress Wednesday
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