Adapted from a famous novel by Richard Yates, the film is set in the mid 1950s with Leo and Kate playing Frank and April Wheeler, a handsome upper-middle class couple who live in Revolutionary Road (That’s where title derives from) along with their two children. People in the neighbourhood regard them as a special couple but behind the close door, Frank and April are two distraught individuals who are crippled by their inner struggles to find satisfaction in life. Frank has a well paying job that he resents while April is still lamenting her shattered dream as an actress. After a huge marital squabble, April tries to save their marriage by suggesting that they move to France where they’ll be free from the entrapment of their current conventional society. Despite Frank’s intial apprehension, he is soon convinced by her (Yes, we know who wears the pants here). Just as things start to look brighter, the couple is faced with an array of unforeseen problems and temptation which put their fantasy getaway at a risk.
Revolutionary Road is a classic beauty, it unfolds one plot point to the next at its own pace without being sluggish. Here, just like in American Beauty, Sam Mendes deals with the dichotomy of one’s internal conflict and his surroundings, an ageless issue with no definite answers.
This movie marks the first colloboration between husband-and-wife, Sam Mendes and Kate Winslet and the reunion of Leonardo Dicaprio and Kate Winslet. I’ve been anticipating this movie greatly just to see the brilliant on-screen couple. For the first few minutes I was watching it as if it tells of the afterlife of Jack and Rose, especially when Kathy Bates pops in. Leo and Kate acted their roles so naturally like it hadn’t been scripted and it was nostalgic watching them together again. I think the movie wouldn’t be as great if they had chosen different lead actor and actress. Also, Thomas Newman’s captivating musical score blends wonderfully with the film.
Revolutionary Road is a beautifully crafted piece of literary work. I know it didn’t even earn a nomination for best picture at the Oscar but I actually prefer it to Mendes’ award winning American Beauty.
As Mick LaSalle of San Francisco Chronicles commented, “Finally, this is a movie that can and should be seen more than once. Watch it one time through her eyes. Watch it again through his eyes. It works both ways. It works in every way. This is a great American film.”
I agree with him but if you hate anguish-filled, character-driven drama, this might not be your cup of tea.
P.S I love the film poster.
Mel says: 9/10 (Extra points for Leo and Kate)