Saturday, April 4, 2009
Title: "Revolutionary Road" (2008)
Genre: Drama, Romantic Drama
Rating: R (for language, sexual content/ nudity)
Length of Time: 119 mins
What is it about?: Frank (Leonardo DiCaprio) and April Wheeler (Kate Winslet) appear to have a perfect mid-1950s suburban life together. Frank is a 30-year-old man, working at the same company his dad worked for. His wife is a stay-at-home mom, who occasionally works as an actress. They have two children, live in a beautiful home, with nice neighbors... and they feel trapped.
As, they reflect on their lives, they realize they are disappointed with how things have turned out and are desperate to find a way out. Intense emotions surface and indiscretions occur as they deal with failed dreams and an unhappy existence. Even though their communication with each other has suffered through the years, they discuss an escape plan. This plan includes them returning to their dreams and moving to Paris, France. They decide to live for themselves again and not limit themselves to a society-imposed image.
Even though the only other person who thinks this is a good idea is the clinically insane, John (Michael Shannon), that doesn't stop them from pursuing their mission. A job promotion for Frank and other surprising events are what threaten to keep them from reaching their goals.
The movie is based on the novel by Richard Yates.
My Review: 4/5 Stars. I just love Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet separate or together onscreen. They always deliver top-notch performances. After seeing this dynamic duo in "Titanic", I knew their chemistry would be "revolutionary" here also. And, it was.
"Revolutionary Road" presents real-life family and marital issues of ineffective communication, internal hurt and resentment, bad decision-making, unfulfillment, and unwelcomed surprises. How we deal with these situations is what really sets us apart. The way Frank and April cope results in dire consequences, that again, are real-to-life.
I was rooting for the couple to pursue their dreams and passions. I felt their inner emotions of outward disappointments were heart-breaking and well-portrayed. I felt for them... and that's what makes this a good movie.
I would be remiss if I left out two other outstanding performances. The neighbor, Kathy Bates (Helen Givings), and her son, Michael Shannon (John Givings), were absolutely essential to making this movie evolve outside of the main characters. I chuckled plenty with John's excited utterances. He managed to see and explain the world in the most sincerest, uncensored manner possible.
While I enjoyed this multi-layered movie, for some reason, I couldn't give it the full 5 stars. Why? I've pondered on this. Maybe it's because I thought some of the other characters were terribly miscast (like the office chick) or because the ending seemed to have been missing something... or maybe because April seemed to be really in love one moment (which is why it's supposed to be a "romantic" drama, I guess) and willing to do whatever it took to make things work and felt completely ambiguous about Frank later. The shift was just to soon and unsubtle.
Sam Mendes directed this, as well as another award-winning suburban-critical drama, "American Beauty", starring Kevin Spacey. "Revolutionary Road", in its own right, boasts of a several awards and nominations also.
My Recommendation: Watch it. If you're married or have been before, you may even see yourself in this movie a time or two-- though I hope your story ends differently. I think, outside of just being entertained by this movie, you will reflect on your own life, experiences, and dreams and wonder if you are happily living your dream or unhappily existing in a matter that pleases others and least of all yourself. At least, I hope you will reflect on your life and then do something positive about it.
Posted by Davida at 12:09 PM