Set in 1950s Connecticut and New York, Sam Mendes’s classy period drama Revolutionary Road inhabits the world depicted so brilliantly by Mad Men, a world where middle-class men in grey-flannel suits troop off to meaningless jobs in the city while their unfulfilled wives go quietly (or not so quietly) bonkers at home in the suburbs.
Here, the man and woman in question are Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet’s young couple Frank and April Wheeler, who move into their new house on the titular suburban street in the first flush of marriage, full of hope for the future. They’re sure that they are a cut above their conventional neighbours, but in truth neither of them is as smart or as sensitive or as bohemian as they’d like to believe, and when their dreams turn sour they lash out bitterly at each other.
Based on the classic 1961 novel by Richard Yates, Revolutionary Road’s portrait of a disintegrating marriage is so unflinching, so unsentimental, and so bleak, that you really need to be in a buoyant emotional state to get through the movie. But the acting is excellent, with DiCaprio and Winslet, reunited on the big screen for the first time since Titanic launched the pair to stardom in 1997, both on top form. Winslet won a well-deserved Golden Globe for her portrayal of the furiously disappointed April and DiCaprio matches her for intensity. See the film, if you feel up to it, and do read Yates’ book: it really is as good as its classic status suggests.
Released on 29th June.
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