Why “Revolutionary Road” led the heroes of DiCaprio and Kate Winslet to a dead end. The film “Revolutionary Road” tells the story of American spouses Frank and April Wheeler, who one day decided to break out of the routine, sell their property and move to Paris forever. The leading actors Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet managed to show the whole gamut of feelings and emotions of this married couple. The point of Revolutionary Road is that when you decide to run away from circumstances, it is important to remember that you cannot run away from yourself.
The film begins with a description of the acquaintance of the main characters. America in the 50s of the last century, some kind of boring party. In the crowd, two eyes met. Here they are already communicating, it is clear that they are having fun and interesting with each other. April is studying to be an actress, Frank is a porter. Despite this, the girl feels the potential in this smart guy, feels that he, like herself, is not like everyone else.
Years pass. April and Frank Wheeler are married, but there is no trace of their former happiness. There is a performance in the provincial theater, April plays in it, but it’s all terribly bad, the audience whispers indignantly, scolding the plot of the play, its interpretation and acting. Frank tries to support his wife, but she is on edge. They quarrel in the car (apparently for the millionth time), blaming each other for all their troubles.
The next morning, April, as always, takes care of housework, Frank goes to work. He merges with the crowd of the same men and women – the local “office plankton”. Everyone is dressed the same, they speak in stamped phrases, it is clear that the main character is tired of all this for a long time, but he is forced to put up with it. He has an affair with a young intern to regain his confidence, but that only makes things worse.
Meanwhile, April waits for her husband while doing chores. She recalls how they bought this house, how they were fascinated by it. It was sold to them by Mrs. Helen Givings, a local realtor, who occasionally dropped in to chat afterward. One day, she told April about her son John, who is being treated in a psychiatric clinic. He has a PhD in math but has communication problems. April agrees to get to know John better.
One day, coming home on his birthday, Frank finds a touching picture: April with the children sings a song to him, a cake with candles on the table. He has tears in his eyes, he is ashamed that he cheated on his wife. On the evening after the celebration, April offers her husband to sell the house and leave for Paris forever.
She says: “We have saved money for six months in advance. You always dreamed of living in Paris. How can an intelligent and talented person spend years doing what he absolutely cannot stand, living in a city that he hates with his wife, who hates everything that he does?
April convinces Frank that he has great potential. Life in the wilderness destroys and suffocates him, and this is the only clue why they are unhappy. She recalls that when they met, nothing was impossible for Frank, but then he lost his taste for life. They both understand that such a change may be necessary for them, and soon the spouses come to an agreement. When they confess their plans to their neighbors, they are shocked, but April and Frank themselves feel truly happy and determined to change their lives.
Mrs. Helen Givings comes to visit the main characters with her son, a mathematician. John immediately arouses the interest of the spouses. He always says what he thinks and impresses with his insight: “I understand why you want to leave. You are tired of keeping the brand. Such a nice little white house, a respectable family … For the sake of all this, you have to do what you don’t like. To April and Frank’s confession about Paris, he asks, “What are you running from?” They answer: “From the hopeless emptiness of life here.” John says, “Many can see emptiness, but it takes courage to see hopelessness.”
But Frank is in no hurry to quit his job. Moreover, after a successful project, he is offered a promotion – a good position and a salary three times higher than he received. He hesitates to tell his wife about it. Meanwhile, April reveals that she is pregnant. She openly says that the child will be a hindrance to their dreams of moving. With abortion in the United States in the 50s, it’s tight, the spouses agree to “think about it,” but April puts a hidden meaning into these words.
April accidentally learns that Frank has been given a promotion. She is furious. He begins to dissuade her from Paris, because such an opportunity with work falls once in a lifetime. They start fighting again. At home, Frank accidentally finds a home abortion device. He demands an answer from April. She assures that up to 12 weeks it is “perfectly safe”.
Frank is terrified at the thought of his wife having an abortion. But April says, “We had our first child by accident. I just got pregnant is all. And then we gave birth to the second one, to prove that the first one was not a mistake. How much longer will this go on?”
She says she just wants to get away, get out of here, and she doesn’t care where. April asks, “Tell me, do you really want another baby? Because we both know the truth. Everyone knows the truth about themselves, but they are more comfortable lying.” In the end, Frank says that April needs a psychiatrist, and moving to Paris is a stupid childish idea.
When John visits them again, he immediately sees a change in Frank and April. He asks: “Which of you is the reason for canceling the move to Paris? After all, in such a case, the meaning is not about money. ” Then he turns to Frank: “I know it’s about you. She wouldn’t back down. It’s all you. What happened? Have you decided that you are safer here, more comfortable in a hopeless void? You got the idea to knock up your wife so that you can hide behind the kids all your life and not find out what you are really made of!
Frank lashes out at John and yells that he belongs in a mental hospital. He retorts: “I’m glad that I’m not in the place of this child.” When John leaves, Frank and April fight again. She says that “this psycho” told the truth, that they are a miserable couple, that she has not loved him for a long time. In a fit of rage, Frank screams that he would like her to get rid of the baby.
The next day, April meets Frank in the kitchen. She is sweet, smiles and cooks him the most delicious breakfast. She asks him about the new job and says that she doesn’t hate him at all. Frank is surprised and touched. He is sincerely glad that his wife has finally calmed down and discarded the thought of Paris. Satisfied, he goes to work. Left alone, April ends up having an abortion. She bleeds and calls the neighbors. She is taken to the hospital.
Frank is waiting in the lobby of the hospital. He is told that his wife lost a lot of blood, she had to be operated on urgently. After some time, he is called into the ward, he comes out of there not himself. April is dead.
The action of the film then moves forward years. A new couple moves into Frank and April’s house. They are told the story of past tenants. In the end, the viewer sees Frank. He sits on the playground and watches his kids ride on the swings. It can be seen that he is deeply unhappy, he never managed to change their lives with April.
Mrs. Helen Givings sits in a dark drawing room with her husband. She says that she was glad to find new owners for the white house on Revolution Street. She calls them “the sweetest people living in this house.” Her husband asks, “What about the Wheelers?”
But she replies that Frank and April Wheeler were too hysterical, eccentric and never liked her. She continues to complain about them, and then the man simply turns off his hearing aid and enjoys the silence.
Director Sam Mendes, who perfectly portrayed the desperation of suburbanites in American Beauty, repeated the same message in the new film.
The point of the ending of the film “Revolutionary Road” is that most of us put up with our situation, forgetting about dreams and not trying to break out of the routine. The elderly Givings are a prime example of this. The husband has not argued with his wife for a long time, although he has his own opinion. He just turns off his hearing aid and listens to silence. Don’t we, seeing the impossibility of coping with the situation, just pretend to be deaf and convince ourselves that everything is in order?
The meaning of the film
Frank and April Wheeler truly believe at first that living together will allow them to fulfill their fantasies. But their problem is that they don’t have any fantasies. Instead, there is longing, a thirst for something more, but there is no vector, no clear plan. Frank and April do not see an attractive future for themselves, and deep down they know that Paris will not save them from themselves.
Routine sooner or later affects all families living together for many years. But some perceive it as a terrible stinking swamp that sucks deeper and deeper, while others see stability, reliability in it, enjoy the established way of life.
And if the Wheelers chose the first option, then it’s just them, the situation itself has nothing to do with it. And, most likely, the same thing would have awaited them in Paris. Frank was the first to understand this, and April struggled to the end with an inner feeling and drove away the obvious from herself.
The essence of the film “Revolutionary Road” is that in family life there is no right or wrong option. Everyone decides for himself what values to choose, what dreams to cherish, what to strive for and what to bet on. But the main thing is to clearly understand that, having suddenly decided to drastically change your life, you should not try to run away from yourself. It still won’t work, and then despair will cover even more, and the road of change will turn into a road to nowhere.
- “American Beauty” , USA, 1999. Drama by Sam Mendes about a simple loser who decided to drastically change his life. One of Kevin Spacey’s best performances.
- The Reader , USA, 2008. Lawyer Michael one day sees his ex-lover in the dock. The past captures them again, and there is a desire to fix and change everything. Oscar for Kate Winslet for Best Actress.
- “Valentine” , USA, 2010. Dean and Cindy once went crazy with love, but then their life turned into a routine, lost its meaning. Is it possible to revive a relationship when you have already forgotten what sincere feelings are?
- “Rabbit Hole” , USA, 2010. Howie and Becky survived the death of a child. They can not recover from the pain, the marriage is bursting at the seams. And then the culprit of the whole tragedy appears in the life of the unfortunate mother, and both understand that they are kindred spirits.