hopscotchee: kathryn hahn score: 71.5 rating: R time: 125 minutes
okay, seriously, what the heck dreamworks?? aren't you suppose to do happy kid movies like shrek, madagascar, trolls, or (our personal favorite) rise of the guardians?? like movies that kids and their families can go see together for a cup of lighthearted, silly but still endurable fun - not a cup of a depresso espresso. sears!! how are you suppose to feel going into this heavy and tragic 2008 film when you are welcomed with the classic tune-age that goes along with the ripple splash and crescent moon?! that's why it is most important to disclose that revolutionary road is not like any of the movies said above and, in fact, is a dark and disastrous eye opener that boldly takes on the calamity of a marriage in the 50s that falls apart at the hands of the desire for a fulfilling life, while simultaneously applauding-ly composes bland, stale, and tiresome elements to tell the ugly monotony of april and frank's life.
ironically, coming off of captain fantastic, which stars george mackay, who's the lead in 1917 (another sam mendes directed movie), revolutionary road similarly pieced together still and chaotic motions, both through the shot composition and the emotions on screen, and fluidly contrasted the two with high sophistication. for instance, this can be seen in how (spoiler) the fixed, mundane scenes of frank at work, where he's lost of that 'new job spark', bluntly oppose from the quickened and racing scenes of april and frank aggressively yelling at one another in their house. abruptly shaking the movement of the piece, both figuratively and literally, causes the audience to feel displeased with the turn of events, making the message as a whole more effectively telling. this said, talented or not, for sam mendes to direct a movie where the husband cheats on his wife just to literally do the same thing to his own ex-wife and star, kate winslet is a total douche move.
nevertheless, this entire movie wasn't just done by sam mendes. another wonderful element that enhanced the storytelling was the film's equally contrasting cinematography and design. noticeably displayed through a passion-less, beige, and fair color palette, the production, set, and costume design teams exquisitely set the bleak mood throughout the majority of the film. certainly this was consciously at play with the costuming choices made throughout the film, however, specifically when the film (spoiler) cuts to the past scene of frank and april dancing, to show their once romantic and kind love. here kate winslet is dressed gorgeously in a stunning black dress, standing out against the warm background atmosphere, and, equally stunning, this contrasts to her pale-colored clothing (notably her white dress at the end of the movie), as well as the, already addressed, bare color palette around the rest of the movie. essentially, having this contrasting dynamic emphasizes the characters' drastic shift and progression, which altogether speaks true to how the direction and design behind this film perfectly conveys the unenthusiastic mentality that the couple struggles with. all in all, it was very well done.
now, how could we talk about revolutionary road without bringing up the obvious. . . .freakin' hopper from stranger things is in this movie - like, what!!!! first of all, props to him for committing to this weighty role (very different from hopper), but, second and more important, what the helck was (spoiler) that saucy bar scene!! and we are not even going to talk about the follow up scene. ahh!! let's just say we're hashtag team jopper for life. but aside from what had to be properly addressed beforehand, we honestly couldn't skip mentioning kate winslet and leonardo dicaprio. being the (no pun intended) ship from the 1997 phenomenon titanic, kate winslet and leonardo dicaprio come back again as april and frank wheeler (hehehehehehe, hopper) and deliver powerful performances. the extent that they went to portray the raw, emotional, breakdowns of both of their characters emotionally makes this movie the critical watch it is today. especially on top of their previous screen time chemistry, as the tragic young loves who aboard the fatal titanic, this connection enhanced the momentum that their roles carried, creating strong tension between the two that made you, as the audience, more involved in the story.
correspondingly, we gotta quickly shout out the murderous mickey shay, who also wonderfully stars next to those named above. personally, for us, he could've been in the movie more. being one of the only tolerable characters in the film, who (spoiler) stands up for april and puts the jerk-face-douche-bag frank in his place, he seemed to advocate what the audience was thinking fluidly (not that we would expect anything less from his acting talents).
lastly, speaking about the plot, although it can seem like an extremist movie about (spoiler) a marriage gone bored and bad, resulting in the wife's abortion and suicide, it isn't that far off from issues about gender norms, keying in on the 'housewife' role and expectations and pressure put upon women in exchange for their husband's happiness rather than their own. however, while this movie could've been really good if it pursued that angle, it barely scratches the surface of feminism, mainly focusing on a marriage that falls apart. disappointedly, it makes the movie paint an arguing, whinny couple that - to be honest - you don't really root for given that the first bit of the movie (spoiler) is of them fighting (which gets abusive) and frank goes and sleeps with someone else. though complex, highlighting on the 50s time period when divorces weren't a thing and young love was meant to last forever, this movie isn't as great of a story as it prides itself to be. however, on the other hand, the most infuriating thing about this film was that, even though it was set in the 50s, frank's behavior is not so different from the behavior of men today!! throughout the entire movie we focus on april's depression and downfall from being stuck in a life she doesn't want, and notably the message behind that is important, but why aren't we talking about (spoiler) how both husbands (frank and shep) cheated on their wives. yes, april's is the greater story and take-away, however we can tend to focus in on the spiraling of someone without holding accountable the actions of those that influence it - making this not responsible story telling at all.
by large, this movie clearly keyed keenly into its aesthetic and art as a whole, with outstanding design, cinematography, and shot composition, that was so in sync to the actors and actresses moving performances, yet the story leaves with some moral questioning. and it is probably good to note that leo and kate cannot do a movie together without it being a total tragedy. so, in our twinion (twin-opinion), definitely watch something like billy elliot after this ringer.
-- thanks, kathryn xo