Movie Mom

Movie Mom


Revolutionary Road

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Adult
MPAA Rating:Rated R for language and some sexual content/nudity
Profanity:Very strong language
Nudity/Sex:Explicit sexual references and situations including adultery
Alcohol/Drugs:A lot of drinking and smoking
Violence/Scariness:Some violence including illegal abortion and death of a character
Diversity Issues:Gender issues of its post-war era
Movie Release Date:December 31, 2008
DVD Release Date:June 2, 2009

It may be, as Thoreau said, that “most men lead lives of quiet desperation,” but in the movies, desperation is much more likely to be loud. “Revolutionary Road” is another movie about unhappiness, phoniness, and corrosive dysfunction behind the manicured lawns of suburbia story from Sam Mendes of American Beauty. This time, it is set just after WWII, based on the novel by Richard Yates. It is the story of Frank (Leonardo DiCaprio) and April Wheeler (Kate Winslet), a couple who are devastated to find themselves unable to escape the stultification of conventional middle class lives and who respond by devastating each other.

There is a moment for each of us, when we begin to see outside everything we have known and start to think of something different for ourselves, confident that we can avoid the mistakes of our parents and their generation. And then there is another moment when we learn that it is not that easy. This notion of exceptionalism, whether at the personal or national level, is the question these characters must face.

And it is that issue that gives this film its power. Yes, it is beautifully observed detail, rich images, and brilliant, fearless performances and yes, it has a scathing portrayal of the foul rot beneath the superficial suburban prettiness, with only a madman who can tell the truth. But all of that has been done before and these stories themselves tend to risk an aura of smug, we’re-in-on-the-real-story superiority that is as artificial as the lives it is dissecting. What makes this story transcend its setting is the resonance it has with the notion of America’s own sense of its exceptionalism in the world and in history.



  • eliss-ann

    This was the worst movie I’ve ever seen.

  • http://blog.beliefnet.com/moviemom/ Nell Minow

    I appreciate the comment, eliss-ann, and if there’s more you’d like to share about how this film failed to live up to your expectations, I’d be glad to hear it.

  • Your Name

    This movie has me practicing deep-breathing exercises and reassuring myself that “If only I were somewhere else, I’d be happy” is just a myth. Lately I’ve been struggling with the thought of spending the rest of my life where I live now- wouldn’t that be a terrible waste? People around me who’ve lived here their whole lives do not understand why that wouldn’t be fine. And last night, reading my Bible, I read this (my memory won’t get it perfectly- it’s at the end of the 4th chapter of James): “Come now, those of you who say ‘Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, spend a year, earn a living,’ where you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes away.” The deep-seated anguish and longing that we all feel sometimes- that April Wheeler thought would be cured in Paris- can only be cured by God. Not by one’s children, or a spouse, or yourself. It is not where you spend your life but who you live it for that matters.

  • http://blog.beliefnet.com/moviemom/ Nell Minow

    A beautiful thought and filled with insight. Many thanks.

  • Priscila

    After watching this movie the only thing I could think was: “Was I the only one that didn’t get it”???
    SPOILER ALERT: The story is really depressing and shows a couple of frustrated people that could not make their dreams come true. April could not stand the fact that she had no talent as an actress and wanted to go to Paris to change her life and feel like she was worthy. As her plans didn’t work out, she just pretty much commited suicide by trying to give herself an abortion. Okay, she was depressed… But, so what?
    I love Leo and Kate and the only good thing about this movie was their fabulous acting. But if you are looking for entertainment, it’s not a movie I would sugest.

  • http://blog.beliefnet.com/moviemom/ Nell Minow

    Thanks so much for this comment, Priscila. I’ve added in a “spoiler alert” just in case a reader does not want to learn too much about how the movie ends. I agree with you that it was not this film’s intent to be entertaining, and people who are looking for that would be better off with another movie.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Jmk

    I was excitd to see the movie bt, i discovered my happy mood suddnly chngd to a angry mood at the end and i thought i think the best thing that could ever happen to someone is to know you have a partner that loves you and wonderful children. April is her own problem she should be thankful for having such a loving family, what else can a woman ask for. Did she even think of people that re homeless nt to talk of even thanking GOD for HIS blessings. She commited suicide for what? If u ask me, she is d one with the psycho prblm in this movie. B’cos she cldnt go to paris, she had to make her childrn mothrless and the husbnd a widower. If someone ask me abt this movie, i wld say u can watch it if u re ready to turn your hpy mood to a angry mood cos it didnt make me cry but angry. I love leo and kate’s great acting. Bt y is it mostly sad or terrible endings when they act together? I think its going to take sometime for me to want to watch anthr movie when i see they re both main characters. I dont rlly like this movie. Its nt smthing i wld like to watch agn. Its a lame excuse to commit suicide, she wld evn be punishd by GOD for taking her own life and that of the unborn child unless i didnt undstand the movie.

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