Pat Coston Movie Reviews

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Revolutionary Road

Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio both starred in Titanic and now start in this film pursuing your dreams to be happy in life. Do you conform and do what everyone else is doing or do have the bravery to be different and pursue what makes you happy?

The movie reverberated with my life. There have been many times when my friends and family tried desperately to talk me out of doing what I wanted saying things like it was foolish or too risky.

Examples

1. I left Prodigy Online services to move to Seattle to be with my girlfriend and find a job there. My boss and co-workers said I shouldn't leave because I was in a position to take on more responsibility and continue to learn Windows programming. They knew that my C++ skills were not good enough to find a job doing C++ programming. Why should I throw away a good career where deeply ingrained and valuable? I moved to Seattle to be with the woman I loved.

2. When I left Phoenix Arizona to move to Malaysia, once again friends were trying to talk me out of it. They warned me about the dangers of being an American in a Muslim based country. They warned me about women who use you to get a Visa to come to the US then divorce you and you must support them. My friends and co-workers in Phoenix wanted me to stay. I moved to Malaysia to be with the woman I loved (and marry her).

3. When I got laid off from my job in New York city in 2008, co-workers, friends and family all wanted me to stay living in New Jersey to be close to them. But I had a dream of moving to California so Kelly and I packed up our things and drove to California. They warned that the economy is bad and it will be hard to find a job. They warned that our money is limited and we may run out of money before I find a job. They wanted us to stay for selfish reasons and tried to scare us into staying but we went anyway.


To be fair, most of the time, life has its way with me.  But I do have my moments where I take control and do exactly what I want even if everyone is telling me that I shouldn't.  Even if I make a mistake or my decision turns out bad, at least I'm control and they are my mistakes.  I believe it is better to be in control and making mistakes than simply following what comes your way.

In the movie, the risk they want to take is to break from following the traditional lifestyle and move to Paris.  At that point April and Frank had two kids, a boy and girl but they were at the age where they could move them easily.  They had enough money for six months plus after they sold the house and car, they would have even more money.  Plus the cost of living would be cheaper and they would live their dram.  April would get a good paying secretarial job and Frank would stay at home and figure out what he wants to do with his life.

Two things happen.  April gets pregnant with a third child and Frank job suddenly turns from extremely boring to interesting as he lucks into an opportunity to advance in the company to a much more interesting job getting paid a lot more money.

On top of that, they get questioned from co-workers, family and friends why they would do such a thing.  Nobody understands except for a mentally disturbed visitor.   He understands the "hopeless oblivion" of modern life in the US.  When he learns that they are not going to Paris, he gets angry and exposes all the un-said truths everyone is hiding.  This guy defines the term "keeping it real".

April wants an abortion and wants to continue with their plan to move to Paris but in that time period of the 1950s it is not so easy or safe to get an abortion.  April would be risking her health and even her life with a "do it yourself" abortion kit.

I won't spoil the ending but I will say that I was disappointed that movie does not have several scenes from the trailer.  I kept wondering when I would see those scenes at some point the movie was chronologically past the point of seeing them so I figured we'd see them in flash backs but never did.  I understand that trailers are cut before the movie is finished being cut.  I get the feeling that the original cuts were too long and they had to trim it down.

The acting is superb.  As I mentioned above, this movie touched me on a very personal level.  Do we have the bravery to overcome our fears about taking great risks to accomplish our dreams?  April did and Frank did not and it tore apart their marriage.

The break-out performance was by the mentally disturbed man played by Michael Shannon.  This guy was incapable of being polite.  He spoke his mind and could read April and Frank's body language like a book and they knew it.  He spoke the things they did not dare to say.

The message of the film: Don't let the conformity, fears and insecurities of others stop you from pursuing your dreams.

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