Revolutionary Road (15)

Film

Drama

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Time Out rating:

<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>3</span>/5

User ratings:

<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>3</span>/5
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Time Out says

Posted: Tue Jan 27 2009

Kate! Leo! Sam Mendes! And a Great American Novel! The stars are aligned! All known film industry computations dictate that if you combine those two from ‘Titanic’ with the British director of ‘American Beauty’ and such heavyweight literary material as Richard Yates’s 1961 novel about the breakdown of suburban dreams in 1950s Connecticut, then everyone involved should be drowning in gold statuettes come Oscar time. But, no, last week this film received not a single major nomination from the Academy, although Michael Shannon rightly received a Best Supporting Actor nod for a brilliant, brief performance that puts his co-stars in the shade.

Shannon plays a wise fool, an unhinged chorus, who speaks out loud the unsayable truths that we come to share about youthful married couple Frank (Leo DiCaprio) and April (Kate Winslet), whose marriage we observe veering from hope to tragedy. From the very beginning of the film, Mendes introduces a tussle between happiness and disappointment, leaping quickly from a jazzy, Manhattan-set scene in which the pair lock eyes on each other at a party to a few years later and a marital argument after a poor performance by April, a trained actress, in a local amateur production. Most of the film spins on this struggle between change and stasis as Frank and April struggle to be the free spirits – too ‘special’ for the suburbs – they believe themselves to be. Mendes is good at identifying small, significant moments, such as the look on Frank and April’s neighbour’s face when they announce their move to Paris: it’s as if they’ve sucked all meaning out of their friend’s small world.

This is a good, thoughtful film, directed with some subtle touches by Mendes (an unpredictable director), acted with intelligence by its leads and photographed by Roger Deakins mostly to avoid suburban clichés. But overall it fails – just – to get to the heart of its main, female character’s tragedy so that its climactic scenes feel hysterical rather than the culmination of all that’s come before. Thomas Newman’s forceful, repetitive score doesn’t help either; its refrain becomes more annoying the more you hear it. Yes, we know this is sad stuff. We don’t need constant reminders.

Winslet gives a good performance as a wife and mother desperately trying to swim against an ever-rising tide, but both she and DiCaprio are rigid at times. There’s one scene in which her character walks across her kitchen to kiss her husband like she’s striding across a West End stage. Yet this niggling sense of theatricality has its upside too, adding to the idea that performance is at the root of this couple’s lives.

This is a horror film about living on the edges of self-perception. It’s about people who are self-aware enough to have ideals and ambitions but at the same time not strong or daring enough to act on them. They have failings, but mostly – and this is something Mendes and his cast communicate very well – it’s their environment and society’s values that dictate their fate.

This is a sobering, well-observed film that doesn’t fully hit the mark but sets up enough pleasing ideas to chew on regarding ambition, marriage and ideals of how to live one’s life, individually and as a couple.
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Release details

Rated:

15

UK release:

Fri Jan 30, 2009

Duration:

119 mins

Users say

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<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>0</span>/5

Average User Rating

3.8 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:8
  • 4 star:6
  • 3 star:1
  • 2 star:3
  • 1 star:0
LiveReviews|39
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Justin Berkovi

Terribly dreary overproduced pap from the very boring Mendes. Winslet confirms herself as just plain rubbish and Di Caprio is wasted in this nonsense. A very weak film with no soul, nothing to get your teeth into and it just seems painfully too try hard. Rubbish.

dr nadeem

amazing film.with brilliant acting by Winslet and Leo..showed the darker side of human relations when they are dissatisfied..Kate acting was piece of the cake ..i personally believe Kate and leo should now unite again to have a movie with happy ending.some mills and boons stuff with iota of intellect in it..I want to forget..I want to forget the tragic falls of Rose and then that of April...i am keeping my fingers crossed.

dr nadeem

amazing film.with brilliant acting by Winslet and Leo..showed the darker side of human relations when they are dissatisfied..Kate acting was piece of the cake ..i personally believe Kate and leo should now unite again to have a movie with happy ending.some mills and boons stuff with iota of intellect in it..I want to forget..I want to forget the tragic falls of Rose and then that of April...i am keeping my fingers crossed.

Jamie baby

I really can't see why people think this film is somehow saved by the acting, for me it was partially ruined by it I say partially because the screenplay and directing were as bad so it really was a team effort.

Jock

Wow! I never imagined there to be so many shallow movie goers. Why go to a movie about relationhips if you're not prepared to try to feel any emotion? "Independence Day" anyone? Ka-bloom!!!

Mia

WOW how much people taste differs! In my eyes this was an amazing movie, speaking about death of dreams, aging, frivolity of everyday life. Completely terrifying and earth shaking in it slow (yes, slow, that I agree) but determined flow. I was left with so many basic questions it triggered in my heart and mind, making me wonder about right and wrong ways to live and everything in between. Acting were great, with bloodied HUMANS as characters. The one of the best movies last year, if not the best (in spite the Oscars:).

Mia

WOW how much people taste differs! In my eyes this was an amazing movie, speaking about death of dreams, aging, frivolity of everyday life. Completely terrifying and earth shaking in it slow (yes, slow, that I agree) but determined flow. I was left with so many basic questions it triggered in my heart and mind, making me wonder about right and wrong ways to live and everything in between. Acting were great, with bloodied HUMANS as characters. The one of the best movies last year, if not the best (in spite the Oscars:).

Sara

I really liked this movie! Strong and disturbing with great performances throughout, but especially loved Michael Shannon!

Sara

I really liked this movie! Strong and disturbing with great performances throughout, but especially loved Michael Shannon!

Midge

Enjoyed the film..a bit sad though..good acting by Cathy Bates and her son Michael Shannon and of course Kate Winslet . Thought provoking, interesting and it captured the time period.

Linds

I loved this film. It was moving and extremely thought provoking. It showed life on many different levels and one wonders do you please yourself in life or do you please others and make yourself miserable?

Linds

I loved this film. It was moving and extremely thought provoking. It showed life on many different levels and one wonders do you please yourself in life or do you please others and make yourself miserable?

Madison

Bleak, but not in any way thats moving - just plain dreary. A typical Sam Mendes film then. Leo manages to create some empathy for his character, but Kate's so unbelievable. She becomes more irritating in each film she appears in. ALso I really wish films could have some sort of pre-warning if they contain images of abortion..not everyone has the stomach for it. At least 3 people walked out after this scene.

usman khawaja

a very vulgar display of emotions and even more pshotic characters then in serial kiler genres -was anyone positive in this tale of a suburban marriage falling apart -the whole cast is hysterical and pathetic while obsessed with being method perfect and shannon was the worst as the man who speaks his mind - the only true thing about this book is yates never did have a mind so the movie reflects the ideas of a bankrupt author very well- winslett is bent on making a martyr of herself while leo enjoys his sado masochist husband role so much he almost made me feel happy for him , that love even enters the conversations between the two ego maniac husband wife couple is a hilarious accident . the suburbia is portrayed as hell and still people live there and this is a presumed satire on the so-called normal couples played by bates and hahn who seem to be content living on the street named revolutionary road -even the name is a disgrace as it is so clearly trying to make an overt statement , but the whole movie is just as loud and i do not think subtlety or sensitivity ever was an aim in this saga of sex and greed in suburbia . this movie could easily be called the summer of their discontent or how i never saw paris as that seems to be the life ambition of a suburban white american female who plays a bad theatre actress in the movie but is rather good in real life as winslett. it was interesting in sporadic moments where they tried to show the disillusionment of idealistic youth but the execution is so theatrical that you cease to care for their misery and it makes you squirm with misery with pointless adultery ,extra marital affairs and unwanted pregnancy as if that is something new . everything that has been discussed better in a look back in anger and whos afraid of virginia woolf is repeated here to the height of melodrama without any shred of intelligence . i liked some scenes where winslett and leo were affective but overall it failed like their flailing marriage itself . a cliched take on the supposedly miserable life of white american suburbia slightly redeemed by the acting and the detached unsentimentality of sam mendes - the score was really a horror as it made the drama into a theatrical nightmare and all that dancing in a bingo site was hilariously funny with a jazzy score . watch it only if you like leo and kate and are die hard fans of the 2 rather attractive stars who try to look attractive even in their total pathetic misery in this morose and pointless marital epic .

MikeO

If this film was a piece of music it would be a 45rpm record called cliche being played at 33rpm. Painfully slow and unnecessary.

Sam

Winslet and Di Caprio get their teeth into some meaty drama roles, and they undoubtedly give their characters real depth and truely believable. However, no matter how good a performance is, a film this completely and utterly depressing. I love drama films but there has to be something vaguely humane to latch on to, and in this film, no matter how much I wanted to, I couldn't find any. Michael Shannon is indeed awful too. A real shame.

sheffield sue

Completely dire. Reminded me of an American version of League of Gentlemen , excpt no humour. The script was cronic and cliched, the acting no better, and the plot: predictable to say the least. The best bit was ironically at the end with the fella n his hearing aid! Now I DID rate The Reader - far superior. Don't waste your money on this one.Watch paint dry - more fulfilling

Stevhors

A strong storyline with a sympathetic treatment of the male character's frustrations and feelings as his marriage stumbles along from one meaningless milestone to the next, very well interpreted by Leonardo di Caprio, and adequately by Kate Winslett in an occasionally stagey first hour. The whole thing comes alive with the introduction of a character suffering from unspecified mental problems, brilliantly played by Michael Shannon, and from then on, the film gathers pace and commitment, leading to a beautifully understated climax. Good film, not quite up to American beauty.

Zoe

This film left me torn. On the one hand it was awfully depressing and from the middle to the "climax" just got proggressively more somber in tone. However, I did think Leo and Kate did a superb job and it was gripping at times. The character of Michel Simmons brought this film to life and really added to the film. Overall acting suberb, plot a little ambiguous.

Zoe

This film left me torn. On the one hand it was awfully depressing and from the middle to the "climax" just got proggressively more somber in tone. However, I did think Leo and Kate did a superb job and it was gripping at times. The character of Michel Simmons brought this film to life and really added to the film. Overall acting suberb, plot a little ambiguous.

Kim

I needed as stiff drink after watching this film! It was desperation with out hope. Good acting but not brilliant and did seem theatrical at times. The sets where excellent in their reconstruction of 50's detail (I believe). Whatever message the film may have been trying to make was lost. As a person who was born in the fiftys I think that some of the more subtle overtones would of been missed by a modern audience who would have little idea what life was really like in the 1950's for a surburban marriage.

N

Very depressing, and the film wasn't that good either. Gutted!

me

we must of watched a different film because we didnt see any great acting let alone ever wanting to watched it twice......

Sticky

Excellent film with great performances yet again from both Kate and Leo, with superb support from Kathy Bates and her character's son, Michael Shannon. It resonates so much as its theme of "most men lead lives of quiet desperation" still rings true for so many people today as much it did in the 1950s when this film was set.

Libby

Dull, dreary, turgid, depressing film. With unlikeable characters and no redeeming features whatsoever. Waste of an evening out!!!

K

I was expecting great things from this film, but sadly it was hugely disappointing. I was squirming in my seat, desperate for it to end. 1 /10 for Michael Shannons performance.

david

Just watched this film with my wife - she watched it the second time and enjoyed it again... Everybody who likes Despaired Housewives will like it... It is about a couple that struggles to find answers to questions like "what do we really want to do with our live", hopelessness and emptiness of a middle class family in the 50s. The problem is that no answers are given, however that must not necessary be a disadvantage for a film. But for this film it is as the couple's story is not exciting enough to really entertain me and most of all: their desperation does not appear extreme enough, because otherwise it would result in more consequent life decisions and probably in another end for the film.

BoredAsHell

Much like the 1950's this movie is just as boring and uninteresting. It's extremely annoying to watch expecting something to happen, and then nothing happens. I must admit the acting was good, however, that does not compensate for the sheer lack of happening in this movie. Critics can rave all they want about it, bottom line is, for the average Joe movie goer, this will be a waste of money.

Brooke

This movie was incredibly slow and horrifically depressing. I would not recommend it to anyone. When our private screening of this film concluded we assumed it could not get any worse and it didn't but it also did not get better. The Reader was equally long and difficult to sit through; I too was looking for the Exit signs on both. Both ended in Kate essentially killing herself. Depressing and dreadfully long.

moustache

Genuinely wanted to enjoy this movie, still reeling a little from the slow burn of Winslet's *Little Children.* But Revolutionary Road is ultimately a boring talkfest, punctuated by unpleasant silences. I mean "dinner with your significant other's uncaccepting conservative family." I mean "where is the nearest exit?" Almost nothing happens in this movie. Winslet is awesome, as usual, and is the only thing this movie has going for it. She delivered the best she could against the plodding plot and empty characters. The storyline is erratic at best, with none of the characters or plotlines endearing at all, and the "sex" scenes solicited laughter from the audience in my theater. DiCaprio's "terrific Nicholsonian rages?" This hyperbole borders on the kind of statement used to impress a date or an editor. I joined a few fellow moviegoers outside the theater doing a grimaced shaky-fist scene, mocking DiCaprio's phone-it-in. Note to screenplay writers: insert crazy people every other scene, if you have to, just don't let you move get boring. Again to reference Nicholson, crazy people at least can be entertaining. After Milla Jovovich's *Joan of Arc,* the forgotten Madonna island movie thing with Guy Ritchie, and now this disappointing turn by Winslet, I am swearing off actress-wife/director-husband projects forever (Helena Banham-Carter is the exception that defines the rule). Finally, Thomas Newman's score, especially in the final scenes, served as a welcome relief to the incessant unaccompanied chatter of the majority of this motion picture. War-like, the dialogue in this picture was rat-a-tat-tat, rat-a-tat-tat, uncomfortable silence -- repeat. A musical accompaniment can be a wonderful tool to offer insight into a character's thoughts, and to link scenes thematically (see *The Hours* (see this instead!) or even "Star Wars" for that matter). All of these talky scenes had so much silence, that I could hear the guy crunching his nachos 50 feet away. A third of this movie is a church service. One star, and this is as much of a review of this review as the movie.