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January 28, 2009 > Movie Review: Revolutionary Road

Movie Review: Revolutionary Road

Rated R
By Susana Nunez

April and Frank Wheeler are a young, attractive couple living a typical suburban life that is slowly destroying them. Their lives seem secure and quite perfect on the outside but both partners feel empty inside, a hollowness that keeps getting deeper as the years pass them by. They were once a couple in love, believing that there was something 'special' to their partnership. As the years pass, however, that magic disappeared and gave way to a life of drudgery leaving April Wheeler (Kate Winslet) feeling like a trapped housewife and Frank Wheeler (Leonardo DiCaprio) feeling like a conformist "average Joe."

Audiences are accustomed to watching period pieces, especially those in 1950s settings where the couples are happy just to be together with no complaints about daily rituals or any sort of higher ambitions. However, this film brings up issues rarely ever mentioned in mainstream cinema. In Revolutionary Road, we see April emotionally falling apart, pale and bored of simply being a stay-at-home mother. This wasn't the life she envisioned and she doesn't feel there's anything wrong with changing. At first, Frank feels the same way and they decide to start anew and move away, kids in tow. Their unconventional plan is knocked by their friends as being unrealistic; but they know that together they can free themselves from a life they hate, leave the rest behind and prove everyone wrong.

All is well until Frank starts feeling the pressure of what they're about to do. Embarking upon an adventure and leaving their home and his job becomes too much for him. He isn't prepared to fail and when he begins to gain recognition at his job, he starts wondering if life in the suburbs isn't so bad. April romances him all over again, and makes him feel alive but even so he's afraid of what could happen. He begins to resent April and her desire to live a fuller, richer life; the power play that ensues will keep you guessing... who will win, if anyone?

Kate Winslet has already won a Golden Globe for Best Actress for her performance in the film, and has been nominated for a BAFTA in the same category as well. Both she and DiCaprio put on incredible performances and it's obvious that the pair's Titanic magic is still intact. Michael Shannon also has a notable role in the film as the neighborhood intellectual/ mentally unstable man; he seems to be the only person who really understands the couple and can see through their public facades. The film is for those in the mood for something a bit deeper, so don't count on a Titanic II. This isn't the story of what could have been if Jack had survived, but it's an excellent film in its own right.

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