Thursday, January 22, 2009

Wedded Unbliss

More than a decade ago, Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet found each other, fell in love aboard a legendary cruise liner, hit an iceberg, and melted our hearts with a Titanic love story that will go and on.

Late last year, DiCaprio and Winslet reunited in Revolutionary Road (the movie opens wide today), and proceeded to stump on the memory of their great affair by hating on each other but good.

Suburbia will do that to ya, it seems – it’ll make you desperate, indeed.

The celebrated pair stars in Sam Mendes’ adaptation of Robert Yates’ novel as Frank and April Wheeler, a seemingly happy 1950s married couple. The two have always thought of themselves as special and different…as ready and willing to live their lives to the fullest. At least that’s who they once were when they met at a smoky party in their early twenties. Young hearts who ran free…and then learned the rules.

More than a handful of years later, this all has changed. It all started to unravel once the Wheelers moved into their lovely new house on Revolutionary Road in Connecticut.

Frank and April may have proudly declared their independence from the suburban inertia that surrounds them and remained determined never to be trapped by the social confines of their era, but that’s just what happens to them: they become trapped and consumed by it…by, say, seeing their dreams of traveling and living in Paris go poof. By the love they don’t feel for each other anymore. Perfect they’re not.

He has turned into a good man who has a good job in the city. But, and although he sleeps around while he’s on the clock, he has no nerve. She, once and still an aspiring actress, is now a less-than-thrilled homemaker starving for fulfillment and passion.

Driven to change their lives, April hatches a plan to escape everything, to leave the comforts of their prime-for-a-postcard, yet dreadful surroundings in favor of the excitement of the City of Lights. They’re going for their long-lost dream, but then reality sinks. Their neighbors express their reservations. So does the mentally challenged son (surprise Academy Award nominee Michael Shannon) of the Wheelers’ realtor (Kathy Bates, another Titanic alumni), who offers unsolicited and hilarious perspective.

This pushes Frank and April to extremes, and Revolutionary Road, already a tough pill to swallow from its fascinating, engrossing, aching opening sequence, turns bleaker than bleak.

Because Revolutionary Road is not another love story, the movie feels…strange. I felt intrusive and devastated and afraid of it. That’s not why I went to see it, and that’s why I didn’t love it. But it’s an intriguing story, and quite hard to resist.

Like any debilitating relationship, this one should be approached carefully.

My Rating **1/2

Photo: Paramount Vantage.


Anonymous said...

Finally! Movie reviews! If I have to read any more Madonna filler...

llundber said...

Ha ha ha.

Yeah, more movies and non-M stuff!