After watching Revolutionary Road (2008) in bits and parts on Amazon for about three days, in between chores and illnesses, I felt April Wheeler was so oddly familiar – not a lady from 1950s America. I felt as if I have seen her so many times… She is still around!
In many ways, I felt as if I was watching the sequel to Titanic, had Jack survived, married Rose and lived a conventional life. Only April Wheeler does not have Rose’s strength. Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet have delivered unbelievable performances.
April Wheeler is a lady who couldn’t name her problem. She seemingly has everything – perfect house, handsome husband, two kids, good income and yet she feels so pathetic and imprisoned in domesticity. Why does she feel that way as she makes the house neat, cooks meal, places the garbage bags just right and tries to be the perfect homemaker? Is she crazy in feeling miserable?
The society expects her to rejoice at her good fortune. People envy them – the Wheelers – perfect couple! And yet she wants to break free, explore… run! What is wrong with her? Even she does not have the answer. Frank, her husband, blames her for those disturbing thoughts and feelings. He is providing for her and she is expected to be grateful in the pretty setting of domesticity. Dreams or no dreams of going to Paris for a different life… But not everyone can risk to be different. Frank is no risk taker, although he pretends to be and leads her on, but later he surrenders in the comfort zone of Revolutionary Road (their housing society). She is betrayed.
Many a dream has been sacrificed in the altar of marriage. Those who surrender and conform, survive but many rebels like April Wheeler suffer and perish. For many, dreams give way to mundane existence because breaking free is a bold step and one has to pay the price. April Wheeler did pay the price!
But certainly I would have liked, April Wheeler better, had she fought on and not died due to self induced abortion. And I want to raise one disturbing question – Had she broken free, what was her plan? She was a mediocre and definitely not gifted in anything particular. She is shown as an average, aspiring actress. Even if she went to Paris after disrupting their lives, would she live peacefully as a secretary? I guess, not! Never! She would again try to do something different. May be her tragedy was that she was an explorer and a non conformist! That’s why she was doomed.
Many of us are explorers in our hearts only we let ourselves be imprisoned after a while to preserve sanity and stay comfortable. Not everyone can walk on a rocky, challenging and disruptive ‘Revolutionary Road’. Especially, a woman!
The movie was a great watch and made me think… a lot!
(Prior to watching the movie, I did not know or read much about it. The views here are personal. Please feel free to disagree.)