Revolutionary Road (2008)

What would have maybe happened if Jack and Rose actually lived “happily” ever after.

The perfect couple living in the perfect house in a perfect suburb? Not quite. April (Kate Winslet) and Frank’s (Leonardo DiCaprio) marriage unravels when a desperate plan to change their “perfect” lives becomes their last hope to escape lives actually engulfed in emptiness.

When this film was first talked about back in the day, nobody could get over the fact that it reunited two stars, who played Jack and Rose from the biggest movie-seller of all-time (now 2nd), Titanic. Although, I can only imagine the people’s faces when they saw this expecting a sequel to that film.

The thing with this film is that it really is harsh, mainly due to the screenplay. These two are constantly hammering each other with yells, screams, insults, curse words, and of course the usual house object thrown around. The dialogue works so well here cause it shows us the reality that many couples go through, and that’s not wanting to be like every one else, as well as having that internal strive to feel alive and new. The hopes and dreams you once had, may finally get away from you at one point, and you can’t help it. Many times throughout this film, their actual human emotions are tested, and you wonder just how you would feel put in the same position. It’s all about capturing the American Dream, and although you may not always get it, you can’t give up on it.

Now this is not a film that will have you screaming from the mountains: “Go Marriage!”. But it will have you totally and utterly shell-shocked. There’s a lot of suspense with this film, much thanks to the direction of Sam Mendes and he brings a lot out of this material that you wouldn’t be expecting so much on paper. I also liked how the film looked, as I almost felt like I was in this 1950’s suburban America, trapped as well with this couple.

The problem with this film is that the characters are not very likable. Frank and April aren’t the most lovable people in the world, but you can sense their pain of entrapment. However, they don’t do anything nice at all, and almost seem like their constantly trying to fight with each other on purpose just to get somewhere. A simple nice and calm chat over a cup of brew would have been nice, but instead, they just have to go crazy and scream at one another until their lungs are just about lost. I feel like Mendes wanted to just have these people fight, and never actually have anything solved, let alone actually be happy. At times, I felt that this was almost so depressing that at times, I didn’t even want to be watching it because there was no sign of hope at all.

I mainly enjoyed this film the most because of the cast here. Leonardo DiCaprio is amazing as Frank, and although he is a little too pretty to be taken seriously as a man, he doesn’t let you forget that he is the true man of the house. Kate Winslet is equally as amazing as April, where she gives one of her very best performances I have ever seen. She starts off as the beautiful, lovely house-wife, but something triggers in here and the non-stop craziness that comes from her is frightening, but at the same time believable, and Winslet nails it in my book. They both work so well together, and every scene they have together feels perfect, and genuine which really adds to a film when throughout the whole film, all they do is fight and argue. I believed them as young ones in love, and I believed them as a married couple trying to stay in love. However, the most stellar job from this whole film is Michael Shannon, the guy nobody had any idea about before this film came out. He is in this film for about 10 minutes, but he absolutely owns every single one, and brings out the most pain and suffering these two already have. If it wasn’t for him I don’t think this film would have gotten the real “kick-in-the-ass” it needed, and when it’s all said and done with, his performance is the one your still thinking about.

Consensus: Revolutionary Road may not be the most entertaining film you have ever seen, but it features brilliant performances from the cast, and a fearless script that tackles all of the problems that couples go through, even though it may not be all happy in the end.



  1. I remember seeing it in the theatre. I was the single guy taking arms against a sea of couples. When I came out, they were looking at the floor, talking baout the performances, to avoid talking about the content.

    I also need to read the book to put the film in context. Also, as much as I disliked the film in comparison to The Reader, I would have been happier if Kate Winslet won her Oscar for this film.

    • That’s really interesting. I watched this with my girlfriend at the time on plane. We didn’t say much about the content either other than how harshly it was portrayed, and how odd the *SPOILER* cheating was. I mean why did he do it? It was almost like, for the sake of something to fight about

      • Same, I never understood it either, and felt it was just something to do. Really strange how no couple actually talks about the content.

  2. Very well written!!! I especially loved the beginning of your review where you qualified the film as the sequel of Titanic that never was. Indeed, had Jack & Rose got to marry and parked themselves at suburbia, their lives could very well have taken the course that Frank & April’s lives took.

    I was also glad to note that you lavished equal praise on both Di Caprio & Kate Winslet. Most reviewers chose to single out Kate Winslet for showing praise in the acting department. But in my humble opinion too Di Caprio was equally good, and at times even better, though his performance remained mostly underrated.

  3. Love this film, any film from Mendes, and any film that portrays the fallacy of the American Dream. I’ve been studying the 50s rather in depth for my American Cinema class and the novel this movie is based on and The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit are excellent stories about how conformity in America is destructive.

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