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.