32 of 32 people found the following review helpful
This Ain't Ozzie And Harriet,
This review is from: Revolutionary Road (DVD)
Over the past period I have seemingly endlessly retailed the experiences of my young adulthood during the 1960s, the time of the "generation of `68". That makes me, obviously, a child of the 1950s, the time period of this very interesting movie, "Revolutionary Road" based on a book by the darkly sardonic writer, Richard Yates. I have also seemingly endlessly pointed out my experiences and the effects they had as a result of growing up among the marginally working poor in that `golden age'. I am fond of saying that I didn't know there was any other condition than being poor for a long time. Well, I did find out there was and although in my youth I would still have had a hard time relating to the story line of this film. The `trials and tribulations', then, of an upwardly mobile, prosperous young couple, the Wheelers, Frank and April, with the mandatory two charming children and a nice leafy suburban house in some nice town in Connecticut would have gone over my head. Now though I can a little more readily appreciate the seamy psychologically paralyzing side of that existence.
As graphically portrayed in the film that seamy side (that also provided some of the most powerful scenes in the movie, and best acting moments by both Winslett and DiCaprio), the central driving force of the story), is the emptiness of middle class existence in the 1950s. Cookie-cutter is the word that came to mind as Frank and April try to break the golden bonds that keep them tied to their old life. One of the nice moments cinematically is the sequence involving Frank's routine workday morning ritual catching the train to New York City (along with all the other felt-hatted men, the symbol of success in that period). Another sober moment is when April takes out the rubbish in their deathless suburban tract and realizes that this life is not for her.
But how to break those golden chains? The issues presented here about consumerism, meaningless and vacuous work, the isolated role of women in the nuclear family, the eternal struggle for security in an individualistically-driven society are all issues that got a fuller workout and wider airing in the 1960s (and since). In a sense the `whimsical' Wheelers were too early. They were before their time. However, although times have changed, I will bet serious money that if you go to some Connecticut train station headed to New York City on any Monday morning you will see, two generations removed and without the hats, men and women making that same meaningless trip that old Frank made. Yates was definitely onto something about the nature of modern capitalist social organization. But I will confess something, although I know better now the stresses of that fate, I would not have minded, minded at all, growing up in that little `cottage' the Wheelers called home. That, however, is a story for another day.
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Initial post: Oct 19, 2012 7:30:10 PM PDT
Thank you for your review. I think that some people missed the connection to today's life, and consumerism, etc., and was happy to see that someone else saw that film the way I saw it, and connected it to the present as well.
Posted on Jan 24, 2013 1:24:50 PM PST
Jose Vega says:
I'm in awe of your OUTSTANDING review of this film. Thank you so much, for putting words to how I feel when I watch this movie.
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