Saturday, January 03, 2009

Movie Review: Revolutionary Road

April and Frank, poster uploaded on Flickr by clemato

This film will resonate on many different levels with everyone who sees it. And I hope those who see it, who maybe loathe their husbands , like Kate Winslet's character does, have the courage and strength to run away as fast as they can. Do not settle for 2 or 3 martinis every night, or a trip to the jewelry store for another piece of bling, or a trip to a psychiatrist for happy pills, or empty meaningless affairs. Hit the road and run run run far far away.

Cocktail hour in suburbia, photo posted by clemato on Flickr

The scene that is in all the trailers for the film showing April (Kate Winslet) taking out the trash reminded me of a story a friend of mine told me. I once asked this friend why she left her marriage.

Trash day in suburbia, photo posted by clemato on Flickr

She said, "one morning I woke up and took the trash can out to the street. I looked down the street at all the other trash cans and homes with well-manicured lawns and realized at that moment this was not the life I wanted."

She left her husband and their mid-western life behind and moved to Laguna Beach, California. She never looked back.
April staring vacantly out the window Emma Bovary-like, photo posted by clemato on Flickr

Anyway, this movie had many Madame Bovary moments for me. The only difference is that April really loved Frank (Leonardo Di Caprio) in the beginning. Another difference would be Emma Bovary's desire for a show house and show things to prove her worth in society. April does not seem to care about material things or the status quo, in fact she rebels against it.

A defiant April, photo posted by clemato on Flickr

Kathy Bates plays the real estate agent who sells the lovely home on Revolutionary Road to April and Frank. Her crazy son, with a PhD in mathematics, is the wisest man in the film. He sees right through the frustration in April's life.

Sam Mendes directs this film. He also directed American Beauty. An excellent choice since both show nightmare suburban lives. Different decades, but nightmares all the same.
April and Frank, photo posted by cine fanatico on Flickr

Adapted for the screen by Justin Haythe from the book by Richard Yates. Kate Winslet and Leonardo Di Caprio give award winning performances. Kathy Bates is great as the real estate agent. Her crazy son John (Michael Shannon) is only on the screen for a short time,, but an award winning appearance in my humble opinion. This is the first time Kate Winslet has worked with her husband, Sam Mendes.

April looking lovingly at Frank when they first meet, photo posted by clemato on Flickr

On a personal note, I came very close to a life like April's while I was living in New Zealand. My ex-fiance is a wealthy real estate developer who owns half of downtown Wellington. I am so glad I had the strength to board that plane that flew me far far away and on to new beginnings.

If interested in my narrow escape, please feel free to read my post on October 11, 2007, An Open Letter to Doris Lessing.
April Wheeler, photo posted by clemato on Flickr


sas said...

Have you read the book? Oh Mary you must, it is tragic, beautiful writing.
It was Richard Yates first novel and he never managed to gain real acclaim for anything else. His short stories 'Eleven Kinds of Loneliness' is also worth a read.
Now off to find out why you are not the first lady of Wellington Real Estate!

Mary Cuevas said...

hi sas,
i am heading to my local library this afternoon. i will put it in my queue. i read that yates wrote the book in 1962 and died in 1992. heard it was to be made into a film a couple of times by big name directors, but deals fell through, hollywood being what it is.

this film rocked my world for reasons i mention in my post.

well i mention this man by first name only. but you may know him and his ex-wife. i am sure they were happy for awhile.

i was heading in a different direction and we would have been miserable had i stayed.

and please know that it was 20 years ago that i left. nz is a much different place. you have a female pm and i know your counrtyr was one of the first to give women the right to vote.

it was just the world we were moving in that i found so repressing.

yours is a beautiful country and the people kind.

Tiago said...

I have loved the character of the mathematitian and his mother´s character, the real estate agent reviews are not as silly as we could figure at the beginning. Great movie, although it may put you down a bit.