Don’t Go Down Revolutionary Road

Three of us went to see this movie last night and left disappointed.

While one thought the movie was about the pitfalls of communication, a second thought the movie was about living life without feeling alive.

I thought the movie made a comment about the feeling of “being special”. I think the movie wants to make a distinction between special based on a talent or skill, and special as an attitude that one adopts either because you feel superior over others, or because you let others know that you live your life differently from the pack.

Clearly, the lead couple learns that they are not special. The Di Caprio character always knows that he lacks a specific talent that might make him special. The Winslet character segregates herself from the other actors during the scene where she is doing the play, presumably because she believes that her acting talent is better than the others so she is special. Yet, she lacks that talent. Despite her husband perpetuating the idea that she is special on their car ride home, she is aware that the performance indicates that she is not special on the basis of her acting talent—the first indication to her character that she is not special. She merely acted superior to the other members of the cast.
The pair only experience two moments when they feel special.One is when they feel superior to their friends after telling them they are leaving for France. This is a confusion on their part between feeling superior and feeling special. The second time is during the walk in the woods with John. This is a real surprise to both of them and one of the few moments when they appear to take genuine pleasure in an event that happens to them without it being based on the sense they they were superior to some other people.
The neighbors all seem to need for the couple to be “special”, as in having a different attitude. The man of the next door couple believes in the Wheelers freedom and “cool” ways. But the Wheelers’ world crumbles, revealing that they failed at maintaining this different way of life. The neighbor’s desire to stop talking about the Wheelers at the end of the movie reflects his disappointment with them. John’s anger at the dinner also reflects a similar disappoinment and the same can be said for Kathy Bates’ character, who is disappointed that they were not able to help her son John.

3 comments so far

  1. Mario on

    I couldn’t agree more with you!

  2. hornytimetraveler on

    I think you described the story perfectly. This issue of “specialness” was the main point of the movie as well as the novel it was based on. The book, however, goes into more depth about this and other angles related to it, and is far greater an achievement.

    • bla2222 on

      Thanks, I would like to know more about the book, particularly since I found out that it was published in 1961.

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