Why does Kate Winslet always move out to the suburbs?
In almost every movie I see her in she’s living in a lovely house in Connecticut and is miserable.
First LITTLE CHILDREN and now in REVOLUTIONARY ROAD. Different eras (Rev Road is set in 1955, a good year for the Brooklyn Dodgers but not housewives) and different hubbies but the same despair, ennui, and property taxes exist. There was also ICE STORM, which was the same story but set in 1973. Kate was supposed to be in that one too but chose the other ice storm movie instead – TITANIC.
REVOLUTIONARY ROAD paints 50s suburbia as a bleak, soulless hell with trimmed lawns. Everyone is having affairs with their neighbors; not out of something honorable like lust but out of desperation and boredom (and always in either cars or up against washing machines – don’t these bedroom communities have beds?). This is not how the 50s ‘burbs used to be portrayed. And it got me thinking – Was Ward Cleaver banging Lumpy Rutheford’s mom? Was Harriett Nelson and Thorny doing it in the service porch?
REVOLUTIONARY ROAD is a cold unsettling look at the American Dream. As always Kate gives an Oscar nomination-worthy performance. She’s had five so far. One day she’s got to win. And if not this year, there’s a project in development about a repressed neighborhood in the 80s. Leo DiCaprio was fine as the husband. All these articles rave about the chemistry between them. I didn’t see it. In fact, I was much more aroused when Kate was having her affair. I also thought, wow, there was a lot of legroom in those 55 Buicks.
Another title for the movie could have been APRIL IN PARIS. Kate played April who wanted to chuck the middle-class life and move the family to France. I won’t say any more because if I do I’ll not only spoil this movie but the last six episodes of MAD MEN.
For all the attention Kate & Leo are receiving, it is supporting actor Michael Shannon who absolutely steals the picture. He’s the crazy guy who cuts through all the bullshit. Suburbs always have one assigned crazy guy or pervert. And Shannon's sociopath would make any township proud.
Yes, there are metaphors, imagery, indictments on conformity, women’s role in society, an examination of marriage, incessant smoking and drinking along with obligatory sepia shots and leaves. I just wish I cared more.
I hope Kate wins her Oscar this year. If so, maybe the co-op board will let her buy that unit on Park Avenue. Just think, Katie – no lawns!