Frank and April Wheeler had it all.  They were a charmed couple, or so it seemed to their neighbours and friends.  He was virile and handsome, a whizz in the city, she was beautiful and an actress.  They owned a pretty clapperboard house in the leafy suburbs.  They had two lovely children. They were special, but there was trouble in Eden. They were bored.  Her career as an actress never took off after she met Frank.  She soon found herself pregnant.  A few years later a second child came along and she was trapped. Her time was fully occupied with home and children.  Frank never really wanted to work in the city, particularly in the same firm as his father, but it seemed the only sensible option.  Their lives seemed set on a predictable pattern and they both felt desperate to escape. 

When they met, they recognized each other immediately.  They perceived the same zest for life, the same desire for the unconventional.  They were different, special, they had found the one they had been waiting for all of their lives.  As long as they had each other, anything was possible. Then children, his job, the nice suburban house on Revolutionary Road closed the door on their enchanted future. There was nothing to look forward to.  Their parents’ past had caught up with them. 

So when April suggested they just give it all up and take off to Paris, it rekindled the passion of their relationship.  But Frank gets offered a promotion.  ‘Such opportunities only occur once or twice in life, you’ve got to grab them by the balls.’, his boss tells him.  How ironic.  April finds out she is pregnant.  Only John, their neighbour’s son who is ill with depressive psychosis, has the clarity of thought to hold up a mirror to themselves. And so, they fail to achieve escape velocity and fall to earth in mutual destruction.  She gives herself an abortion and bleeds to death.  He is devastated and the meaning of his life ends as well.   

Frank and April could not come to terms with the mundane reality of life.  Without anything to look forward to, there was no point.  They had great expectations and now they have great disappointment and that is intolerable. That’s all there is. They realized that the good stuff is just a dream and is unattainable. The only satisfaction was  in themselves, but they were empty and could only look to external excitement to fill them up  Even sex couldn’t rescue them anymore.  They tried other partners but they didn’t arouse them.  They became locked into a meaninglessness, a hopelessness, an existential depression, a living death.  And so the only way out was to kill the thing they had produced and in so doing kill themselves.

Revolutionary Road, released this year,  starred Kate Winslet and Leonardo di Caprio and was directed by Sam Mendez. 

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