I know I’m a bit late on this, since the Oscar nominations are out already, but I’m still reeling over the hype that Revolutionary Road was getting during all the pre-Oscar buzz. Did everyone who gave it a good review even bother to see it, or did they just see that it starred Kate and Leo and think, “Ooo…I really liked Titanic! Four stars!” When it was almost entirely shut out of the Oscar race (congrats to Best Supporting Actor nominee Michael Shannon, the best part of the whole movie), and Kate Winslet was nominated for The Reader instead, movie critics everywhere were shocked. I was more shocked at the nonsense that happened at the Golden Globes: Nominations all over the place, and Winslet’s performance in The Reader was considered a supporting role.
In case you’re still not convinced, here are reasons for why
- It shows us nothing new: Life in 1950s suburbia is boring and isolating. Men in the ‘50s didn’t like working jobs they hated. Women in the ‘50s felt stifled and unfulfilled by being just mothers and homemakers. Unhappy people cannot make a marriage work. Unhappy people lash out and behave destructively.
All of this may have been considered “revolutionary” before Betty Friedan’s The Feminine Mystique was published in 1963, but since then, this sort of dissatisfaction with suburban ennui has been portrayed ad nauseum, and way better than this (check out Mad Men on AMC if you don’t believe me).
- The most interesting part of the entire movie is Michael Shannon’s portrayal of a mentally unbalanced man, whose total screen time is less than 15 minutes. When the best part of a full-length movie lasts less than 15 minutes, something isn’t right.
- There are unexplained inconsistencies, such as the random disappearance of Kate and Leo’s children.
- It’s boring! And I love boring movies! Long, rambling movies that feature little action and lots of talking (think Merchant/Ivory films). But if I wanted to see unhappy married people yell about how unhappily married they are, I’d go visit any number of my high school classmates who got married right out of school. And I sure as hell wouldn’t stick around for two hours.