August 16, 2009

Revolutionary Road

When a friend recommended heartily that I see "Revolutionary Road" (Sam Mendes, with Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio), I was certain it was a lighthearted romantic comedy he had pleasantly watched with his wife.

The movie is set in the 50's. April and Frank are a young couple with two children. April has had enough of suburban life. Frank is bored to death by his job in a cubicle. When April convinces Frank to move the family to Paris, all those around them, colleagues, neighbors and friends, deem them crazy.

So far, all the ingredients of a good comedy, indeed.

Well, I waited in vain though for the comic twist: the story turned to tragedy - but that's not the point.

The theme broached by the movie is very dear to my heart: what it means to discover you're not really living your life, that you're going through life pretending to be happy because you fit some stereotype or someone else's fantasy but that it doesn't mean anything to you...

It is also the central theme of "American Beauty", Sam Mendes's 1999 movie, which fascinated me when I was in Engineering School: Kevin Spacey quits the job he hates, builds up his body, says the truth to his wife and opens up to the world of his fantasies - all things I dreamt of doing.

Here, the tragedy stems from the fact that, while April has clearly identified her dissatisfaction with life as a suburban housewife, Frank gets stuck into the conventional thinking that a good job and a good pay will make him and his family happier than risky adventure.

I've had this difficulty many times in my life: actually all along my life except the year I spent in Cambodia I felt that my life didn't mean anything. I am Frank. Like Frank I work in a cubicle and my work is appreciated. Like Frank, I just got a promotion. So, like Frank, I fall prey to conventions and compliments. And I miss the boat...

1 comment:

vlad said...

bon film, bien que la fin soit un peu previsible !
j'ai neanmoins prefere American Beauty...
c'est vrai que Sam Mendes nous fait pas mal reflechir sur nous-memes