Revolutionary Road (2008) is the first and most successful novel by Richard Yates, directed by Sam Mendes in 2008. The well-deserved awards “Oscar”, “Golden Globe”, many other nominations did not make the film better or worse – it is already loved by the audience. The awards once again confirmed the idea of how many conventions there are in life. And as in the absence of love, everything in life – even conventions – turns into hell.
What is Revolutionary Road about?
Characters DiCaprio and Kate Winslet (Frank and April Wheeler) are a young family from one-story post-war America in the 50s. A cozy house in Connecticut, two lovely children, a rather profitable job of the father of the family – everything radiates satiety and well-being. The picture is deceptive: both husband and wife are languishing in the proposed circumstances.
The first meeting of these people promised a bright continuation: the budding actress April and the charming Frank, who talks so deliciously about Paris, fell in love with each other. Beautiful, young, energetic – they are called “darlings of fate”, they should have everything in the highest class. But Frank became a simple office worker, April became a housewife. The desire to establish oneself in one’s own exclusivity leads the main character to the idea of moving the whole family to Paris. Encouraged by Mr. Wheeler and as beautiful as ever, Mrs. Wheeler spend a magical couple of months discussing future plans and how things will change for the better.
Life brings its own changes: April is pregnant for the third time, and Frank is ready to exchange an unfamiliar, unreliable life overseas for (albeit sickeningly boring) stability. A woman is not ready to retreat, because the road of change is so close and so enticing. Having decided once, April does not look for compromises: she leaves no chance not only for herself, but also for their future child with Frank.
The meaning of the movie Revolutionary Road
When you are special, when you are much better than others, it is difficult to put up with the vulgarity of everyday routine. Neighborhood housewives secretly hate, but in fact they are just jealous of you; their husbands cast hot, loving glances. And you yourself, day after day, only do that you are busy with endless housework. This is how you can describe the failed actress April Wheeler. Frank is also not an average “office plankton”: having been in the war, having lived a little in Paris, the young man is talented in his own way and attractive to the female. Wheelers are special: they look brighter, they joke more witty, they talk more boldly. The thought of one’s own uniqueness haunts, vanity wears away from the inside. The idea of moving to Paris becomes an escape from emptiness and hopelessness.
The story of the Wheelers of Revolutionary Street is a mirror of many others of the same kind. Grey, joyless everyday life, vanity of vanities. But life is one, and the desire to live it richer, more meaningful, more significant comes to life from time to time. A new day brings new food, and the thought of change again steps aside. Wheeler rebels decide on global change. It seems like everything will be different now. This “different way”, of course, comes, but not from actions, but in spite of them.
“Revolutionary Road” is not about one of the options for what happens after a change in lifestyle. The film is about internal contradictions masquerading as fatigue and the search for something new. It is not for nothing that the emotionally unstable mathematician John, who acts as the “voice of truth” in the film, at first supports and believes in such a sincere and courageous couple, but quickly becomes disappointed when he sees that all this is just a beautiful facade, behind which there is nothing. It is not concern for the neighbor that pushes these people to move, but selfishness, the inability to hear and understand the other. The main characters do not run from the routine and external emptiness, but from the internal chilling deadness of the soul.
The meaning of the final Revolutionary Road
“The worst thing is to live a dream that will never come true,” April admits to neighbor Shep. The main character is still struggling with her own emotions, but is already far from reality. The only solution to all problems is to move “anywhere”. An ephemeral life elsewhere, however, presupposes the same inner component, the same emptiness.
Own uniqueness does not live up to expectations. April is no longer special, but she cannot live her own life, pull the strap of life and routine. And he doesn’t want to. Having killed the newly born life in herself, Mrs. Wheeler dies of blood loss. “Dies” with her and her family: the lost, devastated Frank, the children are half orphans.
The finale is a concentrate of human fears, uncertain attempts to create a “castle of sand”, ardent desires, delusions. The correctly set vector of the new and the present so monstrously simply leads the main characters to a dead end. A bright future will certainly become impenetrable darkness, if striving for it, at the same time running away from your own weakness.