Many years ago, a male love interest of mine refused to get into a serious relationship with me because he thought we were too much alike. He claimed we would 'destroy each other,' because we are both very stubborn, of a fiery Aries nature, and also sometimes prone to melancholy. At the time, I thought it was just a lame excuse – and I kind of still do. But after watching Revolutionary Road, I think there might be some truth to the idea.
Revolutionary Road paints a strong portrait of the 'whited sepulchre' of suburban life in the mid-1950s. Frank (Leonardo DiCaprio) and April Wheeler (Kate Winslet) are two people extremely unhappy with their suburban lives. They get into an uncomfortable-to-watch argument early in the film, Frank angry that April doesn't want to go out for drinks with friends after she performs in a sub-par local play. Both perceive that they have given up on the exciting lives they meant to have to behave according to the (boring) constraints of the American Dream. Frank is bored by his job and chafes at working in the same company his father once did. April feels stifled and frustrated by Frank's inability to understand why she is unhappy.
For a while, they agree on an unconventional move to Paris where Frank can 'find himself' and April will support the family as a secretary. Domestic harmony – both in their delight of shocking everyone who thinks their plan is ridiculous, immature, etc. and in their excitement about having something to look forward to – reigns for a time. The question is – will they actually carry through with it, or abandon their dreams again? The movie takes a very hard look at fear of the unknown and unconventional and how we often let one opportunity slip away for fear of losing another.
Both characters, at times, emotionally punish each other in different ways while justifying their own behavior. Mostly, this resulted in overly dramatic arguments and some gratuitous infidelity. And in the end, they destroy each other.
I can't recommend putting this movie in the queue unless you really like to see people argue and do not prefer your movies to have at least a little flavor of hope that happily ever after is possible.
I also recommend that Leonardo DiCaprio take a break from roles where he is married to unpredictable and/or unbalanced women (similar to Shutter Island and Inception).
Written by Jennifer Venson