Sunday, March 1, 2009

Revolutionary Road

I just saw "Revolutionary Road" on Friday night at the Riverview Theater. (Awesome old discount movie theater in Minneapolis.) It was just heartbreakingly beautiful. Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet are both outstanding in it. Leo really got screwed by not getting nominated for an Oscar for his role. Of course, Kate should have been nominated too, but the Oscar rules are such that you can only be nominated once in any category. Michael Shannon, nominated for Supporting Actor, is good, but his part is just so showy. Shannon thankfully doesn't overplay it, but it puzzles me that the Academy could nominate him and overlook Leo.

"Revolutionary Road" follows Frank and April Wheeler as they try to rescue their marriage from the morass it's in at the beginning of the movie. We see a brief scene of their courtship, and then we are thrown into an intense argument they have following April's acting at the community theater. It's obvious that Frank and April know which buttons to push with each other. The following Monday, Frank turns 30 and seduces one of the secretaries at his office. (Leo still looks too young to be turning 30, even though he's 34.) The secretary isn't prettier than April, or more flirtatious, or anything, she's just there. As he leaves her apartment, Frank says, "Listen: you were swell. Take care, now." Ouch! When he gets home, Frank finds that April has baked a birthday cake for him, and their two children serenade him with "Happy Birthday." Frank feels like a heel, as he should, and after dinner April suggests to him that they move to Paris so Frank can "find himself." They start planning the move. Inevitably, complications occur. And I'll leave the plot summary there. Oh, one more thing, this movie shows why you should NEVER let someone else drive your spouse home! I've read enough John Updike and John Cheever short stories to know that nothing good will come of it.

Anyway, go see "Revolutionary Road," revel in the beautiful period detail, and the gorgeous shots of DiCaprio standing in Grand Central Station surrounded by men dressed exactly alike, and then go read the novel by Richard Yates. (I haven't read the book yet, it's next on my list.)

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