Film: Revolutionary Road
Cast includes: Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet (the Titanic duo)
Director: Sam Mendes (American Beauty)
In brief: As the film opens in 1955, we see April appearing in a dreadful community theater production. On the way home, we see that she’s more than a little upset… about the play, her community, her life… everything. In flashbacks we return to the days when April and Frank first met and fell in love. Thanks to Uncle Sam, Frank had spent some time in Paris and tells April that he’s “going back to Paris the first chance he gets.” She’s smitten and tells Frank, “I think you are the most interesting person I’ve ever met.” After marriage, babies and a house in Connecticut, life isn’t as interesting as April thought it would be. And Frank isn’t sure whether he wants the life he has now or the one they talked about years ago.
Based on an award-winning novel by Richard Yates, the film addresses some universal issues, such as the painful reality of not living up to one’s dreams… or what happens when you’re in sync with your partner at one point, but your aspirations grow apart. The plot details have some particulars that are very 1950s. For starters, you’ll notice that Frank drives off every morning in the family car, leaving April without wheels. Details like these are important for understanding why April’s happiness is so linked to her husband’s choices in life. Another set of wheels would have given April more choices in life.
Superbly written, crafted and acted, this film has an intensity that grips you. Love it or hate it, this one will probably stay with you for a while. If you remember the 50s and 60s, you’ll probably relate to some particulars of the era. If you don’t, you can still relate to the broader themes… and the 50s setting will seem quaint. It’s a very provocative discussion starter.
4 popped kernels
Popped kernels for wonderfully developed story... not a feel-good movie, but it totally absorbing with great acting
Primary Audience: Grown-ups
Gender Appeal: Any audience
Distribution: Mainstream limited release
Tempo: Cruses comfortably
Visual Style: Nicely varnished realism
Character Development: Intense
Language: True to life
Social Significance: Thought provoking