Revolutionary Road was a movie released back in 2008. I never happened to watch the movie then, but fortunately, while scrolling through an online movie portal, I stumbled upon it. On a little research I found that it has good rankings and reviews and that the Titanic pair – Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio are the lead pair. I was automatically excited as undoubtedly Titanic is a legendary movie (though now after watching it a hundred times I find it boring), and it made me fall in love with Kate and Leo. I always wanted to see them again, together, and Revolutionary Road gave me a chance to. Moreover, with their commendable performance in the movie, Kate and Leo once again proved why they are one of the most loved actors and pair of Hollywood.
Now you have two options – either to read forward (Spoiler Alert) or to leave right here and go watch the movie, because according to me it is a movie that you must watch.
The movie starts with two young people, April, an aspiring actress and Frank Wheeler a longshoreman aspiring to be a cashier meeting at a bar and falling for each other.
Then there is a skip and we see April acting in a not-so-successful play. April is saddened and Frank tries to convince her. April is thankful for the consolation but does not want to talk about the play anymore. On the other hand, Frank does not give up talking about the play which angers April and it leads to a fight between the husband and wife (yes they are married).
As the movie moves on, we see that Frank, who works at Knox Machines, finds his job a drudge and is attracted to a girl at work and ends up having sex with her. On the other hand, April Wheeler is shown reminiscing how Helen, a lady whom they (April and Frank) had became friends of throughout the years had shown them the place where they were currently thriving – 115 Revolutionary Road.
On returning home, Frank finds April properly dressed. He is shocked as he sees April and his two young children, Jennifer and Micheal singing the birthday song for him. Frank is guilty for whatever he had done with Maureen (the girl from the office. Though they end up having sex one more time). Later that day April and Frank decide to move to Paris, where April will work in some secretarial position which will pay them enough besides the money they will get from selling the house and their savings, and meanwhile Frank can decide what job interests him more.
Events take a turn when Frank, who is happy about moving to Paris, gets a promotion in Knox. April gets pregnant with their third child. Moreover Frank finds April trying to abort the child. This leads to a serious quarrel in which April reveals that she had the second child only to assure that the first child was not a mistake. She requests Frank to let her have the baby in Paris to which Frank refuses. With all the events in mind, Frank finally calls off the plan to go to Paris, which disappoints April.
On a night when Milly and Shep (the neighbours of The Wheelers and their close friends ) and April and Frank are having drinks, Milly turns sick as a result of a dance with Frank. Frank takes Milly home while April and Shep are left alone. April and Shep have sex that night. That same day Shep reveals that he loves April.
The next day, Frank reveals about his affairs with Maureen to which surprisingly April shows no concern. She reveals that she no more loves Frank and therefore no more is concerned about whoever he is involved with. Later that day Helen and her husband Howard and their psychologically unfit son John come over for dinner. At the dinner John lashes at Frank for crushing Apri’ls hope and makes April realize how unlucky she is to be having a child with Frank. At this Frank almost hits John and the Givings (Helen, Howard and John) rush out.
This is followed by a verbal spat in which April confesses that she hates John, that he was just a fling from some bar whom she made the mistake of marrying and having children with. Frank replies by saying that April should have aborted the child long ago as she is not worthy of holding the child.
After the fight, April runs away from the house, towards the woods. Frank is guilty and follows her to which April says that if Frank comes any nearer to her she would scream. Frank goes away and spends his night drinking. Next morning he is surprised to see April calmly cooking breakfast for him. He is happy, rather ecstatic to see everything back to normal and leaves for office.
When he goes away, April, overcome with the past events performs her own abortion which proves to be fatal due to excessive blood loss. Frank is depressed and runs away.
After a skip, Milly reveals to The Braces, the new residents of 115 Revolutionary Road that Frank now sells computers in the city and spends as much time as he can with the children.
The story ends with Helen talking about how the Braces are the best residents for 115 Revolutionary Road. When Howard asks about the Wheelers, Helen calls them neurotic and whimsical and starts explaining how they were not a good couple. The camera is zoomed onto Howard who turns off his hearing aids.
Why is this movie a must watch?
- Because it teaches us a valuable lesson about marriage. Every fling you meet at a bar is not necessarily your true love, the man worth marrying. A person should know well how to differentiate between a fling and a life partner, and infatuation and love. Before getting hitched with someone, see your long term with them. Are they worth spending the rest of your life with?
- Find the job you love, because after all you have to spend your life doing that job. Choose a job that satisfies your passion, and identify your passion early. Doing a job you do not love can lead to many mental stresses as it did for Frank.
- Control your sexual urge, and for God’s sake please do. Just for a moment of sexual pleasure don’t put your marriage at stake.
- Be sensible. No matter how well you have planned, you need to realize that not every plan works. That is what April should have realized. The Paris plan was lovely, but sometimes we have to be practical in life. Any practical man would’ve done what Frank did, excepted the promotion for that was a safer option.
- April’s anger with Frank was immature, because Franks decision was very practical. Her deception was as sinful as Franks deception, even though she had started ‘hating’ Frank. If they are entangled in a bond of marriage, they will have to face things together, period.
- Stop lying to yourself, which Frank had been doing throughout. This not only messes up your life, but the life of your partner, your children and everyone related to you.
- Giving up your life is not a solution. Moreover, her deeds didn’t make sense when Frank was clearly guilty for his sayings. She never presented guilt for having sex with Shep, never even revealed it. At least Frank was guilty about his relationship with Maureen and told April about it. After the fight, Frank was sorry, he even tried to console her, whereas she reciprocated nothing. This leads me to the eighth point,
- Stop being egoistic in relationships.
On a different perspective –
- Take care of your partners wishes, which April did but Frank did not. April cared about his wish to go to Paris but Frank did not care about her wish to abort the baby.
- Also, the movie portrays how important it is to break social barriers if we want to live the kind of life we want.
- If we look at the movie from a different perspective, we also see how the wife, April, sacrifices all her dreams and fantasies just for the betterment of her husband and children, whether it is her dream of being an actress or the Paris plan.
- We see how Frank’s mood drastically changes after they decide to go to Paris. This tells that maybe the Paris plan was something he also wanted, and something April had suggested only in order to drive away Frank’s mental stresses.
- Don’t run away from reality accept it and stop thriving on the past. Frank and April both had been running away from reality, which was the main reason why, by the seventh year of their marriage they were all messed up.
- Be decisive. Sometimes you have to take risks to do big, and if Frank thought that the Paris plan was worth taking a risk for he should have been decisive about it. Indecisiveness was another thing that messed up everything.
Revolutionary Road is a beautiful movie with a strong message. If you can lay hands on it, definitely definitely watch it. Also, just for information, it is based on a novel of the same name written by Richard Yates. I haven’t read it but if you have then do tell me. I would really be thankful.
P.S. – These are my own views and how I interpreted the movie. I would love contradictions and explanations 🙂