Oscar Reviews: Revolutionary Road

Andrew Huff (’10)/Eastside Staff

Oscar Nominations (3):

– Supporting Actor (Michael Shannon)
– Art Direction (Kristi Zea, Debra Schutt)
– Costume Design (Albert Wolsky)

As with any young couple, Frank and April Wheeler felt an instant connection, yet their marital bliss dissipated with the blink of an eye. The move from the city to Revolutionary Road solidified the transformation of the once adventurous couple into suburban clones, droll copies of society’s blueprints for a married couple.

Frank, weighed down by a boring job once held by his father, a job he vowed he would never assume, lives a lie, yet convinces himself not to challenge it. April gazes at the world around her, wondering why she and her husband have “resigned” themselves from life.

Revolutionary Road, directed by Sam Mendes, depicts the trials of an unhappily married couple in the 1950’s, portrayed by Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet.

Winslet, from her dialogue to even the slightest facial expressions, perfectly embodies the feelings of entrapment and isolation April Wheeler endures. As a mother of two and a devoted wife, April longs for more out of life, for purpose.

Frank, her philandering husband, drifts along through life, finding irony in his pathetic situation as he silently wallows in his own isolation. DiCaprio powerfully captures the temperamental, conflicted disposition of Frank, a man who struggles between being himself and not shunning his responsibilities, yet pales in comparison to Winslet.

The emotionally depreciating couple, whose dreams have been shattered by life, finds new hope in plans to move to Paris. The overwhelming optimism expressed by Frank and April, coupled with their seemingly rekindled love, only foreshadows the black cloud over their heads.

Life’s unavoidable tribulations abruptly end their plans.

Winslet’s April, however, suffers a severe mental blow, a shock that rearranges her attitude towards life itself. Ironically, as April and Frank move apart, the voice of reason and truth comes from a recovering mental patient, the son of the couple’s realtor, played by Kathy Bates.

Winslet perfectly portrays the personal, biological struggles April faces from an unexpected pregnancy, as she comes to terms with what seems to be the end of her dreams once again.

A story of intersecting loves, challenged by the strive for independence, contribute to Revolutionary Road‘s message of how far some people will go to realize their dreams; and the price one must pay to do, or not to do so.