Film (with rating): Revolutionary Road (R)
Studio: Paramount Home Entertainment
Summary: April and Frank Wheeler seem to be living the American Dream in 1955 Connecticut, but in reality, they merely trudge from day to day, encountering one hopeless circumstance after another.
Review: This is. One. Fantastic. Film. It’s devastatingly poignant and heartbreakingly sad, most likely because on some level, most of us can relate. Who hasn’t felt trapped by life, misled by hopes and dreams, suffocated by careers, in need of finding that Something Better Out There? All while maintaining the perfect faade and social charade for the outside world to see? Especially in these times, filled with uncertainty and unhappiness, “Revolutionary Road” strikes a chord, in spite of it taking place more than 50 years ago. Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio reunite once more, and as they did in “Titanic,” their on-screen chemistry is impeccable. It’s a completely different chemistry in this film versus “Titanic,” but it’s still incredibly powerful and moving. In fact, the acting is so superb, it becomes entirely possible to wholeheartedly see these two as Alice and Frank. They become real. The film is adapted from the novel by Richard Yates, and it holds much of the book’s beauty and depth–no small feat. The Master of Suburban Angst, Sam Mendes of “American Beauty” fame, directs “Revolutionary Road.” He’s also Winslet’s husband, and the workings of these two on the film helped further create magic. Nominated for three Academy Awards and four Golden Globes, “Revolutionary Road” is richly deserving of even more. Winslet brought home the Golden Globe for her acting chops, which definitely define her as one of the best actors of our generation. She’s a rare breed of young actors who actually seem to have immense substance beneath all that Hollywood gleam and glam. I could go on and on about this film, but I fear I’ve already said too much. Just watch it, and prepare to be devastated.
Extra highlight: Lives of Quite Desperation: The Making of “Revolutionary Road”
What to serve for dinner: Dish up some 1950s favorites: tuna casserole (cooks.com) with broiled grapefruit for dessert (recipezaar.com).
1 (10 1/2 oz.) can condensed cream of mushroom soup
3/4 c. milk
2 tsp. finely minced onion
1/2 c. peas (cooked or canned)
Salt and pepper to taste
3 c. coarsely crushed potato chips
1 (6 oz.) can tuna
Blend mushroom soup and milk; add onion. Bring slowly to boiling point, stirring constantly. Season to taste with salt and pepper and add peas. Arrange half of the potato chips in bottom of casserole dish. Top with half of tuna. Repeat layers. Pour soup mixture over all and garnish top with whole potato chips. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes.
1 pink grapefruit
1 tablespoon brown sugar
Cut grapefruit in half (midway between the stem-end and the dot on the opposite end). Sprinkle brown sugar over grapefruit sections, using more or less as desired. Put halves sugar-side up on a cookie sheet in the oven and set oven on broil for a few minutes, or until the sugar melts and gets crispy. Serves two. Garnish in the center with a maraschino cherry, if desired.
What to talk about over dinner: What dreams do you have? What secrets do you keep from the world? From your spouse? What is your bliss? How do you try to maintain the social charade? Compare this film to “American Beauty.” What is your favorite Kate Winslet film? Compare the chemistry between Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio in this film and “Titanic.” How could this story have changed trajectory to avoid heartbreak? Do we all enter marriage and adulthood with high expectations that set us up to fail? Is young adulthood in the 1950s that different from young adulthood today? How so, or how not?