Since my friend David left for Houston, I'd gotten out of the habit of sneaking off to opening day matinees. Probably a good idea, actually, because Friday is, after all, a WORK day. Well, with the opening of Mendes' version of Revolutionary Road, one of my all time favorite novels, I clocked myself out at lunch time and zoomed off to the downtown theater.
The opening scene was lovely. DiCaprio and Winslet finding each other in a crowded room and connecting deeply, immediately. Perhaps that was the best scene in the film. From there, the movie roared through passionate bursts of emotion and passivity in turn, as the actors wrinkled their foreheads, chain-smoked, drank and generally behaved badly for what was, to me, completely undeveloped and clichéd reasons. Thing was, when Yates wrote the novel in 1961 (the year of my birth btw), questioning the normative world was outré, not cliché. Yates, who suffered from depression and alcoholism, wrote first hand of abject discontent and illusive dreams. DiCaprio, though pretty and functional on the screen, really didn't embody Frank Wheeler the way I'd envisioned the character. And Winslet may have overplayed April, who as I recall, was a bit mousier in the novel.
As I sat there watching the arc play out, I grew anxious. I felt like smoking and sipping a martini and expressing my own angst—which is not where I want to be with my art. Not by a long shot. In the end, I left the theater before the final scene—something I never do. I could guess at the ending having read the book and all, and just talked myself out of enduring it just because I'd paid the $8+ (when did matinees lurch into near double-digits?), and I strode through the clearing, very cool air of January, wishing I could recapture that hour and twenty minutes.
David, when and if the film gets to Houston, give it a look-see and tell me what you think.