“Revolutionary Road” (2008)

As part of my pre-Oscar movie-watching binge, I saw Sam Mendes’ Revolutionary Road. Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio play a young couple who meet cute in the 50’s, get pregnant, move to the suburbs, and take on the trappings of a conventional life. As they struggle against the constraints of expectations–theirs and everybody else’s–they become ever more desperate and unhappy. This is an emotionally brutal film, but one full of truths about marriage and society that still resonate today.

Winslet is wonderful, DiCaprio slightly less so. Michael Shannon, nominated for a Best-Supporting Actor, is disturbingly sharp as the mentally ill son of a friend. Sometimes, though, I became aware of the swelling music, or the actor’s intensity felt a little too “look at me; I’m acting!” Overall, however, a provocative and well done film, with beautiful images and strong performances.

As per my new movie/book plan (which I noted here), I’ll try to read the Richard Yates novel this year now that I’ve seen the film. Reading books before the film wreaks havoc with my reading schedule, and nearly always spoils the film. I’m interested to see if I agree or not with Nick Schager’s Slant review about the film, which says it’s superficially faithful, but ultimately misses the point.

Trivia: I spotted kid-friendly musician Dan Zanes as part of the swing band in a dive bar.

6 Responses to ““Revolutionary Road” (2008)”

  1. Steph Says:

    Now that you’ve watched all these Oscar-nominated films, which one has been your favorite? And which one do you think is likely to win Best Picture?

  2. girldetective Says:

    I haven’t seen them all. Yet. So far, Benjamin Button, Slumdog Millionaire, with Frost/Nixon, and The Reader to go. I may wait till 2/21 to see them, since AMC does a marathon of all the best pic nominees.

    I do feel I have probably seen the best movie of the year already. It was either Dark Knight or Wall E, neither of which got a best pic nod.

  3. Steph Says:

    Ah yes, Wall E. Tony keeps urging me to watch it on Blu-ray with him, but I keep holding off because of how I cried quite a bit while watching it in the cinema. I have to be in the right mood to watch a movie I know will make me weepy, even if it is ultimately feel-good.

    So far I have seen a stunning 0 of the films that have been nominated for awards. I think the next film I want to see is Coraline…

  4. girldetective Says:

    AMC is having a best picture day on 2/21, the day before Oscar, and showing all five best pic nominees in one day. I’ll probably try to catch Frost/Nixon and The Reader then. But see Milk and Slumdog. They’re both great.

    I want to see Coraline, too, and in 3D, so I’m going to have to do it soon before it’s just in conventional theaters. But I’m still in my Oscar push, so it’ll have to wait. I keep wondering if 5yo Drake would be up for it, and thinking I’ll get the book out to see.

  5. Sydney Says:

    I have been told by many not to see this movie, as I have lived it. You agree?

  6. girldetective Says:

    I don’t think you would like it. It’s one of those grim films that you have to feel up to in order to appreciate the great performances. But I didn’t think the film itself was great–it let the wife off the hook more than the husband, I thought, though I’d be interested to see if a husband or guy felt the same.