Revolutionary Road (2008)


Critic Consensus: Brilliantly acted and emotionally powerful, Revolutionary Road is a handsome adaptation of Richard Yates' celebrated novel.


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Titanic shipmates Kathy Bates, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Kate Winslet step onboard for director Sam Mendes' tale of suburban malaise in 1950s-era Connecticut. Adapted from the classic 1961 novel by author Richard Yates, Revolutionary Road tells the tale of a young Connecticut couple whose once-idealistic relationship steadily deteriorates into a ceaseless cycle of petty jealousy and bickering as they strive to retain their independence in the conformity-obsessed world of picket fences and perfectly manicured lawns. Ever since they first met, Frank (DiCaprio) and April (Winslet) saw themselves as special and different. They strive to form their relationship around higher ideals, though upon moving into their new home on Revolutionary Road, the defiant couple pledges never to be confined by the social conventions of the era. As time passes, however, Frank and April gradually become the very thing that they both feared most -- a typical suburban family complete with abandoned dreams and faded hopes. Frank loses his nerve after taking a comfortable job with a reliable salary, and April morphs into an unsatisfied homemaker desperate for passion and excitement. But April's independent spirit hasn't been suffocated just yet, and when she hatches a plan to head for Paris, her need to escape at all costs stands in direct contrast to Frank's desire to hold on to what they already have. ~ Jason Buchanan, Rovi

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Critic Reviews for Revolutionary Road

All Critics (209) | Top Critics (42)

Mendes has made a troubling film that wrestles with big themes and touchy subjects, even if it is set in an overly familiar milieu.

Aug 23, 2010 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…

Bolstered by Thomas Newman's score, spot-on set design and the brilliant source material, "Revolutionary Road" is a darkly effective portrait of an Eisenhower-era couple who fall tragically short of reaching Camelot.

Feb 8, 2009 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…

This is a sobering, well-observed film that doesn't fully hit the mark but sets up enough pleasing ideas to chew on regarding ambition, marriage and ideals of how to live one's life, individually and as a couple.

Jan 30, 2009 | Rating: 3/6 | Full Review…
Time Out
Top Critic

If Revolutionary Road had been filmed back in 1961, when the novel came out, it would have been timely and powerful.

Jan 24, 2009 | Full Review…

Bitter, nerve-wracking, ugly and relentless, Revolutionary Road is Big Drama done right, a mesmerizing look at desperate lives, wrong moves and spoiled dreams that hits hard right from the beginning and never lets up.

Jan 9, 2009 | Rating: A | Full Review…
Detroit News
Top Critic

Viewers in the mood for rip-snorting marital combat should go ahead and partake, but they must prepare to leave the theatre in a state of profound depression.

Jan 9, 2009 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Revolutionary Road

A handsomely constructed, quietly devastating film concerning a couple trapped in a dull and ordinary 1950's life and desperate to find a way out of it, even if it means considering a dream-like scenario. Mendes really doesn't like life in suburbia, as, like he did in "American Beauty", he shows the disturbing, genuine thoughts of characters that, on the outside at least, have the ideal lifestyle. This film is excellently acted, Winslet is outstanding as always, DiCaprio turns in one of his best (if not his best) performances, and Michael Shannon steals the show as a mentally unstable man who is initially impressed at the couples' honesty, but eventually angry with what the couple decides. The negatives are some of the arguments between Winslet and DiCaprio make you wonder, "would even the angriest of people be saying the kind of things they're saying when they have kids around?!", and what happens with DiCaprio's character from a work standpoint is like the main plot out of Office Space, only Mendes takes this seriously.

Dan Schultz
Dan Schultz

Super Reviewer

Sam Mendes' 'Revolutionary Road' is a great movie in a lot of ways. The acting from its stars is incredibly powerful, Deaken's cinematography is graceful, and the story carries some considerable emotional weight. But 'Revolutionary Road' has a story that still feels unoriginal and sounds like a bore on paper. Entertainment value may be lost on great cinematic value, but what this film sets out to do, it does so so superbly.

Kase Vollebregt
Kase Vollebregt

Super Reviewer

Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio's performances are better than the movie itself. The movie is problematic, but these are one of the two greatest actors at their most emotional and rawest moment. I would say that the cinematography is picture-perfect.

Albert Kim
Albert Kim

Super Reviewer

Although flawed, this is an immensely powerful and moving film, thanks to outstanding acting, directing and intensely atmospheric cinematography. Mendes, Winslet and DiCaprio all outdo themselves here, and a typically understated and poignant score from Thomas Newman wraps the whole thing up.

Louis Rogers
Louis Rogers

Super Reviewer

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