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Revolutionary Road This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet star as Frank and April Wheeler, a young couple unfulfilled by their mundane life in the suburbs. When they settle down on ­Revolutionary Road, they ­realize that their dream of ­marital bliss is quickly fading.

April wants to move the family to Paris, a city Frank always felt was “alive.” Despite their neighbors’ disapproval, April and Frank pursue their goal to lead interesting lives. The physical and emotional challenges that follow hinder the couple’s happiness as they struggle to keep their dreams alive.

Based on the novel by Richard Yates, “Revolutionary Road” explores the realities of a crumbling marriage and apathy. Set in the 1950s, the glamorous, wholesome setting juxtaposes with the couple’s bleak prospects. The impeccable set and costume design help suspend a modern-day audience’s disbelief and bring us into a new world. Grim realism wrapped in a 1950s sheen is what gives this film its impact.

Background music appears and disappears at the perfect moments. Silence adds to the tension during arguments, and music brings an unreal aura to other scenes. In the club, when April dances with her neighbor, the music creates an emotion­ally numb atmosphere. Music only appears where it would in real life – another element that many movies lack.

Winslet, DiCaprio, Michael Shannon, and Kathy Bates all give extraordinary performances that bring the story alive. The leads’ previous work on “Titanic” produce a high level of comfort, allowing them to push even further. The emotional intensity is believable and entertaining, as is the ­fuming banter between the characters.

Two complaints: Winslet’s American accent sounds unnatural, and DiCaprio’s violent scenes often feel melodramatic. Despite this, the film definitely deserved more Oscar nominations than it received. Shannon’s portrayal of the Wheelers’ mentally ill neighbor garnered him a well-deserved supporting-­actor nomination.

Although the depressing ­subject matter couldn’t have come at a worse time – with our economic crisis, food shortages, environmental issues, and so on – it’s still a must-see. Even though the main characters both “play the victim,” “Revolutionary Road” brings insight into the human experience. Unlike other films with similar story lines, the Wheelers’ arguments are free of unrealistic wit, and the ending is grim (but not without a surprise).

Overall, this movie’s stellar writing, gut-wrenching acting, and remarkable directing make it an invigorating film. Although weak in spots, the gripping ­story line and talented cast ­carry it through.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.




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This article has 4 comments. Post your own now!

hannah=(= said...
Aug. 1, 2009 at 4:56 pm
Sounds really good. I want to see it and read it.
 
Cambei said...
Jul. 3, 2009 at 4:23 pm
First of all, Kate Winslet is one of my favorite actors. Second of all, I love your opinions in this. I'm the same way- I point out in movies if the music was good there, if the camera angle should have been different, etc. And yes that is annoying when dramatic, sappy orchestra music starts playing, especially in old movies! The words you used were simple and made an impact. I will definitely be watching this movie now.
 
A. Bargnani said...
Feb. 11, 2009 at 2:17 pm
She's my favourite writer
 
Sweet16 said...
Feb. 10, 2009 at 3:11 pm
I found this to be well written and I would not hesitate is reading this book. There was much information given with out revealing the whole story.
 
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