| Note: Two Movie Reviews submitted below for "Revolutionary Road" by Keith Cohen and Jolene.
2 1/2 Stars (Out of four)
Review by Keith Cohen, "The Movie Guy"
Oscar-winning director Sam Mendes (“American Beauty”) reunites his wife, Kate Winslet (“The Reader”), and Leonardo DiCaprio (The Aviator” and “The Departed”) for the first time on screen since “Titanic” in this film adaptation of the 1961 novel by Richard Yates.
They play April and Frank Wheeler, a young married couple living in a Connecticut suburb during the mid-1950s. The title refers to the street address of their residence. They are struggling to come to terms with a myriad of personal problems while trying to raise their two children.
They are immature adults whose middle-class existence has turned out differently than they imagined. Their dreams and hopes have been swept aside over the course of seven years spent together by the realities of making a living and the demands of parenthood.
April was an aspiring actress and an idealist before she met Frank. Frank recalls happier times spent in Paris while in the military.
On the outside, they appear to be a happily married couple. Their frequent squabbling and bickering is indicative of the frustration that reigns supreme in their troubled household.
Frank, who has just turned 30, is carrying on an affair with his secretary. He can’t stand his boring and tedious office job that pays the bills.
April is tired of their humdrum existence and wants to make a change. She comes up with the idea of moving to Paris. She views this as their only chance for happiness. This change-of-scenery fantasy ignites an exhilarating sense of euphoria and puts a newfound spring in their step.
Their real estate agent and neighborhood acquaintance Helen Givings (Kathy Bates) comes over for an afternoon visit. She brings along her husband and son, John (Michael Shannon). John is a certified lunatic who can see right through April and Frank’s playing house charade and supposed domestic tranquility.
After putting their house up for sale, complications arise that derail their plans. Frank is offered a promotion and huge raise. April finds out that she is pregnant again and considers having an abortion.
This couple experiences the complacency and conformity of middle-class suburban life. They have hopes of becoming special and rising above the mediocrity. The bleak story takes you behind closed doors to wallow in their misery.
This heartbreaking melodrama revolves around the corrosive disintegration of a loveless marriage. It is very uncomfortable watching things unravel as these two actors vent their rage with cruel and cutting remarks. There is nobody here worth caring about. You are unsympathetic because this chain-smoking twosome made their bed and now have to sleep in it.
It is an acting showcase for the talented Winslet and DiCaprio, who both display a wide range of emotions. The handsome DiCaprio makes the most of his beautiful, baby-blue eyes. He looks like a dashing fashion model in every outfit. Winslet recently won a Golden Globe in the dramatic actress category for her performance. She shows off her blonde locks and curvaceous figure. The one lovemaking scene between DiCaprio and Winslet takes place in the kitchen with their clothes on.
Shannon in a dynamite supporting role is fabulous in two brief but memorable scenes. His keen insight and common sense understanding of human nature puts an indelible stamp on this couple, who have sacrificed their individuality in order to blend into the suburban trappings of raising a family.
The period clothing, furniture, interior designs and automobiles set the mood and ambience of the movie.
Oscar-nominated composer Thomas Newman ( “Wall*E,” “The Good German,” “Finding Nemo,” “The Road to Perdition” and “The Shawshank Redemption”) brings to the production a terrific musical score that brings back nostalgic memories of the 1950s. The cinematography is another ace in the hole.
Similar yet better domestic dramas that come to mind for comparison purposes include “In the Bedroom,” “Little Children” and “American Beauty.”
Now playing exclusively at AMC Town Center and Cinemark Palace on the Plaza.
3 Stars (Out of four)
Review by Jolene Mendez
Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio reunite over a decade later for a dark and winding trip down “Revolutionary Road”. Starring Kate as April Wheeler, a beautiful young woman who meets intriguing Frank Wheeler (Leonardo) at a bar one evening. Fast forward some years later and the two are in a dysfunctional marriage. They are living in a suburb of Connecticut with their two young children. April is a stay at home mother while Frank is working to provide for the family. April and Frank are equally miserable with their marriage.
To everyone else the Wheeler’s seem perfect, but behind closed doors we are let into their dark secrets. April who seems determined to save her marriage decides to proposition Frank with an offer she hopes he can not refuse. She wants him to quit his job and relocate the entire family to Paris where she will find employment and he can stay at home with the children. Initially Frank has his concerns, but April makes sure to ease his mind and convince him it is what she needs to make the marriage work. The two are close to packing their bags when April discovers she is pregnant.
Frank and April determine having a child and moving across the country is not a practical idea. April decides it would be best to terminate the pregnancy, while Frank is completely opposing the idea. April determined to terminate the child insists that Frank consider the option. Once he renders his decision that he will not move and he wants the child April breaks down and runs away. Away from her life and herself.
The film plays out as two lost souls who at one time had hopes and dreams that have been thrown aside. Now determined to make a doomed marriage work both characters are horrifically on a one way ticket to imminent disaster. Leonardo offered a grand performance. The trying husband wants to please his wife, yet wanting to kill her at the same time. His frustrations played out so well that you could not help but feel sympathy for him. Kate as April was undeniably true talent at its best. Her complete disregard and hatred for her life and husband were awing. “Revolutionary Road” is a dreary and depressing tale that would not have survived without the powerful and emotional performances by Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio’s.