by Laura Tucker
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I was expecting a romance with Revolutionary Road, with stars such as Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio, but what I felt I came away with more than romance was passion, and not always in a good way, in fact rarely in a good way. But realizing these were two very passionate people saved me from disliking these characters too much.
We meet Frank and April Wheeler (DiCaprio and Winslet) as she’s performing in a play, and he’s in the audience seemingly daydreaming about dancing with her, but instead coming back to reality at the end, hearing the people sitting around him talking about his wife as the worst part of the play. He goes back and acknowledges in a veiled way that it wasn’t the best thing he’d seen. She snaps back about wanting to make an excuse to not go out with another couple, Shep and Milly (David Harbour and Kathryn Hahn), and the two seem so cold with each other, it’s hard to imagine any romance.
On their way home, they get in a terrible fight over the status of their life together. He’s ticked because they moved here to start this life, and now he feels stuck, working in the same dead end job he watched his father be miserable in. She gets out of the car and runs, then comes back, and in their screaming match, he raises his fist as if he’s going to pull back and punch her, but pounds his fist into the car instead, hurting it.
That scene was just the tip of the iceberg. Neither one of these two are willing to be honest with each other about their real feelings, and neither one appears to really understand the other. April fell in love with Frank’s dreams of becoming something big in Paris, whereas he can’t admit to her that he really doesn’t know what he wants to do with his life. She tells him she wants to move to Paris and support him while he pursues his dreams, but the truth seems to be that she just wants out of this prison she feels she’s in, living on Revolutionary Road and being a stay-at-home-mom. Both carry such burdens, and not sharing these makes them seem even larger.
Oddly, the one person that is supposed to not have it going on is the one person that at times seem like the one one that does. Kathy Bates plays a real estate agent that sells Frank and April the house on Revolutionary Road. She explains her adult son has been locked up in a mental institution, but when he gets out, she’d like him to visit some nice young people like Frank and April. He’s the only one that seems to get Frank and April and what they really stand for.
From a relationship standpoint, I found Revolutionary Road very interesting, trying to dissect this relationship and how they should fix it. At one point I thought that these two people didn’t even belong together, but then realized that it was their passion that drew them together and their secrets that drew them apart. If they’d only trusted in themselves enough to share not just their passions, but the rest of their lives as well, things would have been far different.
Revolutionary Road is out now on DVD.
Laura Tucker Laura Tucker is the webmaster of Reality Shack, and its accompanying Reality Shack Blog, as well as Troubled Hollywood, and is a freelance writer providing reviews of movies and television, among other things, at Viewpoints and Sazze, . She is also an Associate Instructor and 2nd dan black belt in tae kwon do with South Elgin Martial Arts. Laura can be reached at LauraBelle@realityshack.com
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