Let me preface that I am quite biased when it comes to Kate Winslet, so I must first apologize if I sound overly enthusiastic regarding her acting.
‘Revolutionary Road’ is not a film to watch if you’re looking to walk out feeling good. This is anything but. This film is a stark look at a married couple (Frank and April Wheeler played by DiCaprio and Winslet respectively) in the 1950’s who are completely stuck in their own personal lives and in their relationship. It examines the harsh realities of this couple without sugar coating it in the slightest, evoking an uncomfortable and painful reaction while watching this film.
The movie begins by the viewers being introduced to April and Frank Wheeler, both in a disappointing time in their life. We are shown that they did love each other very much when they first met, but their relationship has since deterioated to the current state where April, having given up her dream of becoming an actress, becomes acutely aware of the suburbian life she is leading with Frank. As the movie progresses, while Frank finally comes to terms with the responsibilities of taking care of a family, having to ignore his dreams, April becomes increasingly mentally unstable and neurotic.
In my view, the score fits seamlessly into the film. It’s quirky, thoughtful, mysterious, and tense at different moments, enhancing the existing emotions and actions of the characters. At times, the awkwardness of a scene is highlighted by the music, making the viewer even more uncomfortable.
The acting carries the story, and it is not the screenplay itself that makes the movie strong. Through Sam Mendes direction, the movie works on so many levels. People may not want to hear and watch Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio arguing constantly, but in some ways, I felt like we were peering into a real relationship, trying to put on a front. I don’t doubt that relationships today deterioate into shouting matches, and we were shown two very flawed characters dealing with their personal demons in two different manners. It is natural to be more sympathetic to Frank more than April. I have not had the opportunity to read the book, but now I am inclined to read it and see how it compares. I have read that those who had read the book and watched the movie believe they don’t flesh out the characters enough to really understand why April acts the way she does.
The movie is primarily a character study and there is nothing about this story that will leave the viewer with any kind of hope. Everyone who has a relationship in this movie is stuck, unhappy, living under a facade. I enjoyed most of the acting in this film, but I cannot say I enjoyed the film. As for possible nominations, I believe that DiCaprio deserves it more than Kate does in this movie, and if anything, Kate should deserve it for her performance in The Reader. Those wishing for a reunion of “Jack and Rose” should avoid this movie unless you know exactly what you’re getting yourself into.
Verdict: 3.5/5 Recommended if you enjoy great acting. If you dislike truly depressing movies, I’d say skip this one.