Saturday, June 13, 2009

Revolutionary Road

It's been a long time since I've seen Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf but there were shades of that film in this one--maybe it was just the down and out caustic fighting. Revolutionary Road was a bit of The Hours mixed with Far From Heaven, and even Kate Winslet's character in Little Children seemed to show up in glimmers in this film.

It spoke of dissatisfaction with the typical suburban life. It showed a woman who craved more, who believed her husband when he said he did too. April (Kate Winslet) believed she and Frank (Leonardo DiCaprio) were co conspirators. That they had something no one else had. That they were special. That they were destined for something great and that family and kids didn't have to prevent that or slow that down.

And yet, knowing how way leads on to way....

Well, things sort of implode. I watched this film and feel I should almost watch it again. Not because I didn't understand it the first time, but more to savor and ponder. Sam Mendes' film is rich with discussion points about men and women and their relationships and roles. About the era, about family, about sanity and fresh starts. About friends and fidelity. About fate and choices and change.

One of my favorite characters was John Givings (Michael Shannon), son of their friendly realtor, who visited the Wheelers for stabilizing influence and a meal as he was on his weekend passes from the nut house.

Revolutionary Road did not provide that feeling of uplift but it did challenge my mind. It's a bummer, almost from start to finish. And a sense of impending doom seems to cast a pall over it all. My friend, Pam, said it almost had a horror film feel to it toward the end. I could see that too.

This film is one of the finest I've seen this year. If you're looking for a feel-good flick, don't bother. But I would highly recommend it. And then discuss it. I think the richness of the film is best shared and analyzed and contemplated long after the credits have rolled.

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