Directed by Sam Mendes.
Written by Justin Haythe. Based on the novel by Richard
Starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Kate Winslet, Kathy Bates and Michael
Release Year: 2008
Review Date: 1/27/09
As one of the three girls walking out of the
theater near me said while leaving "Revolutionary Road":
"Now I REALLY never want to get married!"
So goes, then, the main problem with this
very well-acted film: it's maybe in a category beyond negative,
because it goes for the jugular in such a way during its final 20
minutes that you almost can't believe the implosion could happen.
I mean, I get that some marriages don't work out, but in the case of
Frank and April Wheeler (Leo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet), their
marriage is a roller coaster during just one summer after seven
years of being together that I was actually laughing by the time it
I don't think that was the intention, but
then again, I haven't read the Richard Yates novel to know for sure.
It's July 1955 on a quiet street in a quiet
suburban town somewhere. Frank is a business machines
salesperson, and he hates his work life. Long commute, shitty
boss, long days, only enough money to stay in his quaint house with
his two young children...this, after dreaming of living in France
and having a life less ordinary. April's got it worse--she
doesn't work, hates life, has a nosy neighbor (Kathy Bates) and two
friends (David Harbour and Kathryn Hahn) who help define her sad
existence. But, April decides one day while cleaning the house
that the thing they SHOULD do is...move to Paris! As the two
begin plans to leave the country for good, a lot of stuff happens,
and many other things help push their relationship to the brink.
There's no doubt that your blood will boil
if you are someone who has "settled" for a life VERY ordinary...I
imagine that if you had "dreams" years ago but decided to buy the
house in Fairfax where you could raise a family and then die
quietly, then this movie is really going to be tough on you.
The performances by everyone are great, and while I don't think
anyone really deserved an Oscar nod besides Leo (he didn't get one),
the ensemble is very consistent throughout. I thought the
problem were the half-dozen or so ridiculously-over-the-top
sequences when either Leo, Winslet, Hahn, Bates or Michael Shannon
(playing a certifiable crazy man) completely loses it. Those
scenes don't even fit what is happening here, and when the
explosions happen, you are left with mixed feelings; on the one
hand, damn, that was a great exchange. Then, almost
Damn...would anyone ever really do that?
Maybe they would...but, they felt contrived
and ultimately brought the product down for me. That, and
sometimes, you almost can't believe how depressing a movie like this
can be. Even as someone that has lived out some dreams and
done some settling, you sometimes imagine yourself moving to Paris
while the movie is still running, and ten minutes later, you're
like, "yeah, that shit is NEVER gonna happen...". Cool, but
not cool, you know?
The movie is good, but it was not as strong
as the other Oscar-nominted Best Picture films, so I'm not sure why
some people say that this movie got robbed. But, you need to
see it--ideally, without your spouse/partner--because you get to see
pros acting their asses off.
Rating: $9.50 Show
Comments? Drop me a line at
Bellview Rating System:
"Opening Weekend": This is
the highest rating a movie can receive. Reserved for movies that
exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development,
setting...or Salma Hayek. Not necessarily in that order.
"$X.XX Show": This price
changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently,
it is the $9.50 Show. While not technically perfect, this is a
movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.
"Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca",
but you'll have a great time watching. The $9.50 Show won't win any
Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see
"Matinee": An average movie
that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.
Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about
yourself. A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave
the theater saying "That wasn't too bad...man, did you see that
Lakers game last night?"
"Rental": This rating
indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your
friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one." Mostly forgettable, you
couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to
watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the
video store was out of copies of "Ronin." If you can, see this
movie for free. This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a
"Hard Vice": This rating is
the bottom of the barrel. A movie that only six other human beings
have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen. A Shannon
Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every
one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a
movie. Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or
"Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this
movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!
(Warning: strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard