Sunday, January 18, 2009

Revolutionary Road...

The Observer and I saw Revolutionary Road last night. I knew it was about a dysfunctional marriage between two strong willed characters (Kate Winslett and Leonardo Dicaprio). Set in the mid 1950's, both husband and wife struggled to meet society's expectations of what it means to be a man and a woman. The film gave a raw, violent perspective of two people who try desperately to hold up the image of the perfect life, but end up miserable in the process. Revolutionary Road is the name of the street where the couple buy a house and try to settle into the "perfect life" with their two children. Early on, Revolutionary Road is described as a "sweet, little area that one must travel through some unpleasant areas to reach." When Kate Winslett learns she is pregnant with the couple's third child just as they are about to relocate to Europe, things unravel rapidly for their family. The couple push each other to the brink, making the film hard to watch and hard to turn away from.

Revolutionary Road takes a long, dark look at what happens when you decide to settle and not follow your heart. On the opposite spectrum, the film shows how wanting a life too drastic from the majority can cost one a lifetime of unhappiness. Times, values and people change, but not without sometimes paying a major price.

I joked with the usher at the movie theater before seeing the film that "It might not want to make me feel ready for marriage for a long time." Revolutionary Road is not a happy, light movie, but it does leave one thinking about how many people push themselves to attain the picture perfect life and others who want a life so different from the norm. Both types can end up miserable. Life is a road. If we stay too much in the middle, we can end destroyed, and if we travel too far off course, we are in trouble. Such realities are made clear when society's values are being upside down during a revolution. Marriage is beautiful, but it would have been challenging in the 1950's - mostly because there wouldn't have been such great wheelchairs invented or Starbucks coffee.