Monday, March 02, 2009

Revolutionary Road

Finally reunited after they first worked together in Titanic, the most successful movie of all time, Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio give us another great set of performances in more mature roles that match their ages and allow them to show their incredible talents.

Winslet is amazing as an unfulfilled and disillusioned wife who watches her life pass her by and doesn't like what she sees. DiCaprio is just as good as the dutiful husband who gave up his dreams to provide for his family and is now at a crossroads where he feels pulled in the wrong direction by his wife, even if for all the right reasons.

Winslet was properly showered with accolades for her work in this movie as well as The Reader, for which she just won the Best Actress Oscar, but where is the love for DiCaprio?

I always felt like he had been snubbed by the Academy for Titanic, the only top billing actor who didn't get a nomination, and now this performance goes by without any mention again. Instead, the Academy nominated Michael Shannon for his portrayal of a guy who tells it like it is. I thought Shannon was terrific, but I also feel like he got the chance to show off in a very histrionic role compressed in a very short amount of time, while DiCaprio did just as good a job but spread over the length of the entire movie.

Another Titanic veteran that shows up in this movie is Kathy Bates, one of my favorite actresses, who, as usual, does a great job as the local gossiper and know-it-all lady.

Sam Mendes, Winslet's husband and the director of American Beauty, creates another great portrait of ordinary lives gone awry, and his direction is simple and effective. He doesn't make excuses for anyone and doesn't sugarcoat the issues for the audience.

This movie was passed over for a Best Picture nomination, although I think I prefer it to The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (I have yet to see both The Reader and Frost/Nixon). Surely, however, Revolutionary Road's themes are tougher to deal with, and maybe the Academy just didn't feel like showcasing them too much.

Grade: 8

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