Initially I was somewhat conflicted about seeing Revolutionary Road. I knew I had to see it; I knew many were in awe of the performances, but I have to admit that the trailers seemed to be more than a bit dull. I wasn't sure why I would want to see this tale of domestic disintegration.
Then some other thoughts came to mind. Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio are nothing if not dependable when it comes to turning in good to great performances. Then there is Sam Mendes, not my favorite director, but one you can count on to turn in films with interesting characters that you want to spend time with, if not necessarily like (just look at films like American Beauty, Road to Perdition, and Jarhead). So, in I went and look, I survived, none the worse for wear. What I discovered in that darkened theater was a compelling film that is definitely worth seeing, but will not want to revisit for a long time, if ever.
Way back in 1997, Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet were coupled in romantic entanglements in Titanic. We all know how that ended. I am sure that many out there (although not me) have wondered just what could have happened had Jack survived his cold water dip and he got to live with Rose happily ever after. Now we know, and it is not pretty. Titanic romanticists can dive into this film and have their romantic flights of fancy ripped to shreds as the thin veil of romance and civility is torn away to reveal this subtle suburban hell. Sounds beautiful, doesn't it?
Revolutionary Road begins with a meet cute not unlike what you would find in a romance. A boy and a girl spy each other across the room, a sly smile indicating interest, followed by a conversation. The romancing bit is very brief, only serving to give a glimpse of what the two were like before they were together. In short order, the two are married and looking at a home in the suburbs outside of New York City. They carve out a nice slice of the American Dream, nice home, two kids, a wife to do housework, a husband to provide by working in the city. It is what so many people want to do while dreaming of something bigger.