Directed by: Sam Mendes
Cast: Leonardo DiCaprio, Kate Winslet, Kathy Bates, Michael Shannon
Running Time: 2 hrs
Plot: Based on a Richard Yates novel and set in the 1950s … A married couple, Frank (DiCaprio) and April (Winslet) try to overcome the normal suburban existence and do something more with their lives, to the surprise of everyone they know.
Who’s It For? This is a slow moving, heavy drama. You shouldn’t be thinking it would be fun to see the Titanic gang back together again. And with Mendes, DiCaprio and Winslet … Oscar must be the in back of someone’s mind with this period piece.
Yes, the gang is back together (DiCaprio, Winselt, and let’s not forget Bates) but with much different results. Frank and April love/hate each other. From their first meeting we are wisked away to their mundane marriage. April starts out as an actress, but then is saddled with two children and Frank’s slight disapproval. Frank is a charmer, and while April used to see it now it’s the secretaries at work who get to enjoy his flirtations. It seems as though the film will be a painful journey into unhappiness, but then suddenly April comes up with a brilliant idea … move to France.
The film is jolted into hopes and dreams and more importantly, escaping a blah life. But you can just sense there is something else. After all, this film isn’t called Frank and April move to Paris. Instinctively, you wait for the bad news, not knowing where it will come from. Michael Shannon is an odd force on the screen. He plays the son of their Realtor (Bates). And while he is out of wack, he also delivers some of the most sane lines. In fact, it seems all the characters come and go at the perfect time, just like a play.
And that’s where this film feels more like a performance compared to a slice of nostaligic life. DiCaprio and Winslet out act each other in every scene. But it’s where the story goes that is most troubling. The tension builds with each fight, and Winslet can turn her personality on a dime … but the story kind of picks a side. It chooses for one character to fall apart, while the other becomes blind to it. Throughout Revolutionary Road, I loved that this couple was together through everything, and I didn’t want that fabric of the story to unravel. It’s not a pick-me-up type tale, and it’s not nearly the same sappy, heartbreaking love of Titanic, but both Winslet and DiCaprio prove they can move on together.
Final Score: 7/10