Apr 6, 2009

From Book to Movie

Revolutionary Road- Richard Yates

The rediscovery and rejuvenation of Richard Yates's 1961 novel Revolutionary Road is due in large part to its continuing emotional and moral resonance for an early 21st-century readership. April and Frank Wheeler are a young, ostensibly thriving couple living with their two children in a prosperous Connecticut suburb in the mid-1950s. However, like the characters in John Updike's similarly themed Couples, the self-assured exterior masks a creeping frustration at their inability to feel fulfilled in their relationships or careers. Frank is mired in a well-paying but boring office job and April is a housewife still mourning the demise of her hoped-for acting career. Determined to identify themselves as superior to the mediocre sprawl of suburbanites who surround them, they decide to move to France where they will be better able to develop their true artistic sensibilities, free of the consumerist demands of capitalist America. As their relationship deteriorates into an endless cycle of squabbling, jealousy and recriminations, their trip and their dreams of self-fulfillment are thrown into jeopardy.

I thought the movie stayed true to the book. Some things were weeded out of the book in the movie, but not major plot points. I still get the sense of discontentment in both Frank and April Wheeler mainly due to the actors portraying them, Leonardo Decaprio, and Kate Winslet did a great job. Revolutionary Road is one of my favorite books, so naturally I expected the worse, surely no actor could portray the emotions of Frank and April, the feeling of suffocation in the very world they created, but indeed I felt it while watching the movie. If you loved the book, you'll love the movie.

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