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April Wheeler: You don't! Because you've never tried at anything. And if you don't try at anything you can't fail.
Once upon a time, two clean-cut American kids named Frank and April met, fell in love, and got married. They settled down in a Connecticut suburb near New York on Revolutionary Road and all lived happily ever after, right?
Years later, Frank Wheeler is an office drone and April is a housewife who tends to their two kids. They hate every minute of it. Things change when April suggests moving to Paris and start their existence anew. Their neighbors wonder why the hell they aren't happy with their lives. But then, Frank decides to take a promotion at work and April gets pregnant again. Let's just say things go downhill from here.
What I've described is the plot of the novel Revolutionary Road, which was published on New Years Eve, 1961, and authored by Richard Yates. The "present" of the novel is the year 1955. In 2008, Sam Mendes directed the film version which starred his then-wife, Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio.
This work features examples of:
- Alternative Character Interpretation: Too many to mention. Lets just say that there are many different opinions on Frank and April as people and the merits of their actions
- Death by Childbirth: April, although it's more like "death-by-attempted-abortion"
- Development Hell: There have been attempts to adapt the book to the screen dating back to 1967.
- Downer Ending: April dies giving herself an abortion and Frank goes on to live unhappily ever after. Their unhappiness even affects their neighbors.
- Exiled to the Couch: April puts herself there, and Frank is less and less affected.
- Fake American: Kate Winslet in the film.
- The Fifties
- Here We Go Again: After all the angst in this film, this is implied as some new neighbors move in to the Wheelers' house.
- Is That a Threat?
- It Got Worse: The Wheelers' marriage.
- Mad Mathematician: John Givings, except he's also the Only Sane Man in a warped way. He's the only character who always says exactly what he feels and calls everyone else out on their hypocrisy. While he has a history of violence, the supposedly "sane" Frank and Shep have both hit / threatened their wives.
- Masochism Tango
- Milking the Giant Cow: Literary example - at one point, Frank puts down a glass so he can "make a gesture of impassioned earnestness." Of course, almost everything he and April do is some kind of performance.
- Oscar Bait
- Smoking Is Glamorous: Gradually deconstructed over the course of the movie.
- Stepford Suburbia
- Those Two Actors: Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio, together for the first time since Titanic.
- Satirized by Stephen Colbert, who accused the movie of "ruining the Titanic franchise".
- With Kathy Bates in the picture more like Those Three Actors...
- Wall-Bang Her: Frank and April's sex scene in the kitchen, even though it's more against the countertop and cabinets rather than a wall.