Revolutionary Road

MPAA Rating: R

Entertainment: +1

Content: -4

Leonardo DiCaprio, Kate Winslet, Michael Shannon, Kathryn Hahn, David Harbour and Kathy Bates. Drama. Screenplay by Justin Hayth. Directed by Sam Mendes.

FILM SYNOPSIS: Based on the celebrated novel by Richard Yates, director Sam Mendes' Revolutionary Road is the story of a young couple (Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet) trying to find fulfillment in an age of conformity. Though they have a job, a house and two adoring children, neither is happy with their suburban life. She suggests they move to Paris, where she will get a job as a secretary while he “finds” himself. But when the husband is lured back to his job with more money and a purpose for being, the wife continues to be frustrated with life in 1950s America.

PREVIEW REVIEW: Have you ever noticed how the 1950s always get a bad rap in the movies? Words like conformity are always associated with that era. And of course, it’s the decade of McCarthyism, a fact we are reminded of whenever a filmmaker wants to paint a picture of “repressed” ‘50s America. According to filmmakers examining that time period, everyone was a Stepford clone. They all wore fedoras and their biggest decisions concerned what they were going to BBQ Friday night.

The filmmakers shoot themselves in the foot by attempting to paint the period as stifling by giving us a lead couple about as unlikable as possible. The husband is an adulterer, insensitive to his wife and unable to end an argument without going into an obscene and profane tirade. I swear, today’s actors equate the use of the f-word with thespian intensity. And evidently the more you use the obscenity, the more likely you are to get an Oscar nod.

And the wife loses her mind by film’s end because her husband is suddenly satisfied at work. You see, she wanted to go to live in Paris, where he could stop working and find himself. And she would get a good job as, get this, a secretary. Don’t get me wrong, nothing wrong with a secretary’s job. But here it seems fanciful to think life would be all peaches and cream (make that crème brûlée) if they lived a Bohemian lifestyle in the City of Lights. They don’t want to be conformers, going to work in an office with lots of other people, yet she wants to become a secretary in Paris. I guess she thinks the day will be broken up by a three-hour lunch and a sexual escapade under the Eiffel Tower.

Though I’m not a fan of either Leonardo DiCaprio or Kate Winslet, I’ll admit they are both fine actors. Both are very good with portraying unhappy at home, unhappy at work and unhappy in their own skin. But I’m not sure what the point of the movie is, except perhaps ridiculing traditional values of a time neither the director, writer nor lead actors lived through.

DVD Alternative: Tender Mercies. Robert Duvall stars as a country western singer on the skids until a religious widow and her little boy take him in. Rated PG for some objectionable language in the beginning. But when the Christian woman has an effect on his life, out goes the profanity. Oscars went to Duvall and writer Horton Foote.

Preview Reviewer: Phil Boatwright

The following categories contain objective listings of film content which contribute to the subjective numeric Content ratings posted to the left and on the Home page.

Crude Language: None

Obscene Language: Several arguments between the leads brings out an arsenal of objectionable language.

Profanity: Around 20 profane uses of God’s name or Christ’s.

Violence: In a fit of anger, the husband almost hits his wife.

Sex: Two graphic sex situations; both husband and wife commit adultery.

Nudity: Brief female nudity

Sexual Dialogue/Gesture: Some sexual innuendo

Drugs: A great deal of smoking and drinking throughout.

Other: None

Running Time: 120 minutes
Intended Audience: Adults

Click HERE for a PRINTER-FRIENDLY version of this review.