• Publication date: September 15, 2011

Staying Together But Growing Apart Revolutionary Road: When Ambitions Outweigh Love

Author Richard Yates penned his popular novel Revolutionary Road in 1961; immediately film studios were interested in adapting it to the big screen, though debates about the project's execution and profitability stalled its creation for decades.

Author Richard Yates penned his popular novel Revolutionary Road in 1961; immediately film studios were interested in adapting it to the big screen, though debates about the project's execution and profitability stalled its creation for decades. Once a screenplay had been developed in the 90s, an already ailing Yates deemed it unsuitable; his death soon thereafter lessened the prospects of a film adaptation even further. Fortunately, the writer's wife eventually agreed to a screenplay by Justin Haythe, one that she believed remained faithful to her husband's original work.

Revolutionary Road features Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet as Frank and April Wheeler, a thirty-something suburbanite couple from Connecticut. Both have forfeited their dreams and conformed to 50s American social norms, believing that happiness would subsequently follow. Instead their lives increased in monotony: April's acting ambitions are crushed, and Frank's job hawking office equipment leaves him angry and unfulfilled. The birth of two children completely destroys any hope that the couple had of pursuing unconventional paths in life.

A glimmer of hope appears however when April suggests selling the couple's home, withdrawing their savings, and relocating to Paris. There she hopes to find work as a secretary or translator, while Frank takes time to search for a profession he truly enjoys. Although he is initially hesitant, Mr. Wheeler eventually agrees to the idea, devastating best friends Milly (Kathryn Hahn) and Shep Campbell (David Harbour).

April's plans are halted when Frank receives a rewarding promotion at work, one that proves less tedious than his former routine. Infidelity eventually drives the couple even further apart, as both realize that they were in love with the prospects of a picturesque American life, but not each other.

Revolutionary Road marks DiCaprio and Winslet's first pairing since 1997's Titanic, though this time in a vastly different dynamic. The picture was a critical and commercial success, earning a Golden Globe and three Oscar nominations. At the box office ticket sales totaled $75 million, effortlessly recuperating its $35 million budget. Its soundtrack features songs by The Ink Spots, The King Cole Trio, Art Blakey and many other popular 50s artists.

Year: 2008

Duration: 119 minutes

Genre: Drama, Romance

Starring:

Leonardo DiCaprio

Kate Winslet

Michael Shannon

Richard Easton

Jay O. Sanders

Kathy Bates

Director: Sam Mendes

Rating: Rated R for explicit language and some sexual content/nudity