Revolutionary Road

Rated 5.0

Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio play a troubled, emotionally adrift married couple struggling to rediscover themselves and each other in a prosperous East Coast suburb circa 1955. Based on Richard Yates’ novel, the gradually unfolding drama is concerned less with critiquing Eisenhauer-era suburbia than with exploring the existential dynamics of personal lives during the so-called Age of Anxiety in the aftermath of World War II. Director Sam Mendes (American Beauty, Jarhead) and a fine cast make good on an exceptional array of remarkable character insights, with Winslet doing especially sharp work. DiCaprio’s unavoidable boyishness limits the effectiveness of an otherwise smartly focused performance. Kathryn Hahn and David Harbour do incisive supporting work as the couple’s best friends (and unexpectedly revealing foils), and Zoe Kazan’s work as Maureen, the young secretary with whom the husband has a fling, neatly shadows the other, larger characterizations. Oscar-nominated Michael Shannon is excellent as the most trenchantly unhinged of the story’s variously disillusioned characters. Winslet really should have been recognized by Oscar too (she’s better here than in The Reader, in all respects), and Mendes and screenwriter Justin Haythe deserve recognition for what just might be the best literary adaptation of the year. Feather River Cinemas. Rated R