Sunday 1 February 2009

Revolutionary Road

In recent weeks there have been so many films that I wanted to see. I think it is virtually impossible to catch all the films at this time of year without taking up residence at a local cinema and refusing to leave.

One film I knew I wouldn't let myself miss was Revolutionary Road, which is of course the latest film from Sam Mendes whose work on stage and screen I have always loved. Not because I think I should but just because it is my kind of work. Films that are beautiful to look at but have a depth and resonance without having an obvious aching agenda to be worthy.

Revolutionary Road is a worthy follow up to his other films and as good a film as I have seen this year. It is not necessarily an easy film because much of what it says about life and the way people end up leading their lives is uncomfortably true- and as uncomfortably true now as it was in the 1950s when the film and Richard Yates' book are set.

I don't necessarily want to quote lines from the film or book because they are so much a part of watching the story unfold. I have not read the novel that this film is based on but I have read and got the impression that this was an extremely faithful adaptation. If that is the case it is certainly a tragedy that Richard Yates was not more appreciated in his time because this story and dialogue is beautifully written.

Revolutionary Road has stayed with me much as The Hours did and I have to say both stopped me in my tracks a little and left me struggling for a couple of days, which I think is a natural reaction to really strong writing that has something quite important to say.

This film holds a mirror up to people who settle in their lives for what 'should' make them happy. Now for some these things will make them happy: a lovely house, a contented family and economic stability are all important and there is nothing wrong with being fulfilled by that life. However for others that isn't the case and I suppose this film is saying that is okay and if you are one of those people then you shouldn't look to cage yourself and conform.


Perfumeshrine said...

I have been meaning to catch this one. It's good to know it's beautifully and thoughtfully filmed. Thanks!
I suppose those themes were especially relevant in the 50s where the societal pressure to conform was much more felt, them being more conservative times. Not that there isn't a universal/eternal resonance of the question, mind you.

Rose said...

Hi E, Yes I think this film is very interesting as a study of the 1950s but it is worryingly relevant now too also.