Revolutionary Road

Character: April Wheeler
Created by: Revolutionary Road by Richard Yates
Directed by: Sam Mendes
Written by: Justin Haythe
Produced by: Bobby Cohen, Sam Mendes, Scott Rudin, John Hart
Other cast: Leonardo DiCaprio, Michael Shannon, Kathryn Hahn, David Harbour, Kathy Bates
Release date: December 15, 2008
Genre: Drama
Running time: 119 minutes

It's 1955. Frank and April Wheeler, are in the 'seven year itch' of their marriage; they're not happy. April has forgone her dream of being an actress, and Frank hates his job. One day, April suggests they move to Paris as a means to rejuvenate their life.

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It’s never named in the film, but in Richard Yates’ source novel, the play April acts in is Robert E. Sherwood’s “The Petrified Forrest,” written in 1935. In the play, the female lead, Gabby, dreams of leaving what she sees as a humdrum existence in the U.S. to move to France; this is also April Wheeler’s dream.

The film was shot almost entirely in sequence.

While directing the love scene between Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet, director Sam Mendes, Winslet’s then-husband, opted to watch the monitor from another room. Mendes admitted that directing his own wife in a sex scene was awkward, but added that directing sex scenes are always awkward.

The rights to adapt the book into a movie were bought in 1967.

At around 61 minutes in the movie, during an argument, a fallen painting of the Titanic is visible in the bottom left of the frame, behind April. Kate Winslet, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Kathy Bates all starred in the movie Titanic (1997).

In the end credits it says, “For Mia and Joe.” Mia is Kate Winslet’s daughter with her first husband Jim Threapleton. Joe is Winslet and director Sam Mendes’ son.

Ryan Simpkins and Ty Simpkins, who play Frank and April’s children, are real-life siblings.

The film was entirely shot on locations in Connecticut (doubling for New York) and without any use of sound stages.

The first film collaboration between Kate Winslet and director Sam Mendes.

This film marked the second time Kathy Bates has played opposite both Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet.
The only film that year nominated for Best Motion Picture Drama at the Golden Globes, and not Best Picture at the Academy Awards.

The song that plays throughout the main trailer is “Wild Is the Wind,” written by Dimitri Tiomkin and Ned Washington, and performed by Nina Simone. The song did not appear in the movie, partly because it was released in 1957. Johnny Mathis was the first singer to record it, for the movie Wild Is the Wind (1957), and it was nominated for an Oscar for Best Song. Nina Simone’s recording was made in 1966.

The tickets to Paris are on a Cunard Line steamer. Cunard Line merged with White Star Line, which built and owned the Titanic. Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio starred in Titanic (1997).

Some scenes in the U.S. and International trailer were not included in the final cut of the movie, such as the scene of Frank’s “Nothing’s forever, right?” line and the scene with Helen showing the Wheelers their soon-to-be home.

This film marked the second time Kate Winslet has been in a movie where she makes love in a vintage car, and someone’s hand hits the window and slides down it in the throes of passion. The first time was in Titanic (1997).

Todd Field had planned to follow up In the Bedroom (2001) with this film, but he decided to make Little Children (2006) (also starring Kate Winslet and Ty Simpkins) instead.

This film marked the second collaboration between Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet, after Titanic (1997), where they also played lovers.

Character Quotes:

“So now I’m crazy because I don’t love you, right? Is that the point?”

“But I don’t. I hate you. You were just some boy who made me laugh at a party once, and now I loathe the sight of you. In fact, if you come any closer, if you touch me or anything, I think I’ll scream.”

“If being crazy means – living life as if it matters, then I don’t care if we’re completely insane. Do you?”

“Tell me the truth, Frank, remember that? We used to live by it. And you know what’s so good about the truth? Everyone knows what it is however long they’ve lived without it. No one forgets the truth, Frank, they just get better at lying.”

“Don’t you see? That’s the whole idea! You’ll be able to do what you should have been allowed to do seven years ago, you’ll have the time. For the first time in your life, you’ll have the time to find out what it is you actually want to do. And when you figure it out, you’ll have the time and the freedom, to start doing.”

“No, Frank. This is what’s unrealistic. It’s unrealistic for a man with a fine mind to go on working year after year at a job he can’t stand. Coming home to a place he can’t stand, to a wife who’s equally unable to stand the same things. And you know what the worst part of it is? Our whole existence here is based on this great premise that we’re special. They we’re superior to the whole thing. But we’re not. We’re just like everyone else! We bought into the same, ridiculous delusion. That we have to resign from life and settle down the moment we have children. And we’ve been punishing each other for it.”

“Who made these rules anyway?”

“I wanted *in*. I just… I just wanted us to live again. For years I thought we’ve shared this secret… that we would be wonderful in the world. I didn’t exactly know how, but just… just the possibility kept me hoping.”

“How pathetic is that? So stupid. To put all your hopes in… in a promise that was never made. See, Frank knows. He knows what he wants. He’s found his place. He’s just fine. Married, two kids. It should be enough.”

“Just because you’ve got me safe in this little trap, you think you can bully me into feeling whatever you want me to feel!”

“Are you still talking? Isn’t there any way to stop your talking? I need to think! Can’t you see that? I need to think!”