Monday, 28 September 2020
Revolutionary Road
Written by Sandra Fitzpatrick   
Thursday, 29 January 2009 00:00

ThumbnailSometimes people throw themselves into something, work for example, as a way to escape life and not face reality. Sometimes reality, with its disappointments and abandoned dreams, stings a little too much. And sometimes we just need a pretense of normalcy, that blind feeling of accomplishment over the tiny triumphs of everyday life in order to feel sane. Revolutionary Road, the latest offering from director Sam Mendes (American Beauty), explores a lot of dark territory and heavy themes, and doesn’t shy away from getting in deep.

Much of the buzz about this film has been about the reuniting of Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio who haven’t worked together since their legendary stint on Titanic. Boy have they grown in both maturity and talent! They are unarguably two of the most gifted actors Hollywood has to offer these days and this movie puts those talents to the test. Both give truly powerhouse performances, especially Winslet who says more with a silent gaze than any script could ever put into words. DiCaprio is allowed to run the gamut, putting his youthful looks and charm to good use and then erupting with surprising force into any range of emotions.

Frank and April Wheeler appear to have achieved the pinnacle of the “American dream”. They have the perfect 1950’s suburban life. Both are attractive and intelligent, promising career, lovely home and two children. But beneath the surface the dream is really a silent nightmare as they cope with the dashed hopes and fantasies of their idyllic youth. April knows things are not right and comes up with a plan to move the family to Paris and support her man until he finds out what his passion is and they can both pursue their true calling. For her, the plot becomes a means of escape from a life that she feels trapped in. At first Frank shares her excitement, but then a promotion comes along and he struggles between living his safe and normal life and venturing into the unknown.

ThumbnailThe filming here is brilliant and really sets the tone for each scene. Middle class suburbia starts out with a shine and a polish and slowly degrades into something a little more sinister – or is it just our imaginations that take over as the characters spiral out of control? The passion of the stars propels the film along, even during slower scenes and draws it to an unexpected conclusion.

This movie has so much to say that it is almost impossible for me to touch on everything in a short review. It makes me want to write an essay – something that would allow me to get under the skin of each character, explore their motivations and disabilities. Since I’m sure you don’t want to read all that, let me just say that this movie had an effect on me, leaving me silent and introspective.

Revolutionary Road spoke to me on a lot of levels. It’s about the choices we make, taking a chance, and the lies we tell ourselves to make it all ok.