Saturday night was a night in for me. My flatmate and I rented a DVD — Revolutionary Road, ordered some take-away and sat in front of the telly on the rainy night.
I really enjoyed the movie. So much so, I was surprised that it didn’t win the best picture (while I liked Slumdog…I didn’t think it was all that great).
The movie is set in the 50s and begins with the main characters falling in love and getting married. We are then forwarded to their married life where she, April, is a housewife attempting to be an actress (but apparently not doing too great) and he, Frank, is working in a dead-end job he hates. They live in the perfect suburb, on a perfect street in a perfect-looking house. They are the perfect family with two kids.
In fact, it almost had a Stepford feel to it.
Anyway, April comes up with a brainwave one morning about leaving America and going to Paris and actually living. She decides she will work while he can study and think about what it is that he really wants to do in life. While hesitant initially, he agrees. However, everyone else (their friends, neighbours and his colleagues) think they are nuts. After all, what man can have his wife support him? How can this perfect family throw away everything and start a new life? How unrealistic is that?
The only person that thinks they are doing the right thing is a guy who has recently been in psychiatric care. In my opinion, the only ‘mental illness’ he had was being compulsively honest. Which everyone else fails to be.
Anyway, the plans of the Wheelers get foiled when he is offered a promotion and she is pregnant.
I love dark movies and this was one of them. I think I managed to relate to some things because US in the 50s had values similar to what I probably grew up with in the 80s and 90s. The movie subtly looks at women’s issues. The woman is secondary. A woman must want to have children and if she doesn’t she is ‘mentally unstable’. A man must work and cannot be supported by his wife. The fakeness of society comes across even back then.
And of course, something that exists even today — how we all wear a mask. We pretend. We all come across as perfect to the rest but each and every one of us is fucked up in our own way. Not just the people that admit to having a mental illness.
All of us.
Until next time,