I have a confession to make my friends: I have no clue how I got into the world of academia (if you can call it that–hint: you can’t).
No. Fucking. Clue. I’m not very well-suited to intellectualism in terms of personality (or intellectuality, for that matter) and I don’t think I ever consciously decided I wanted to end up where I am today. The point is…I at some point came to the conclusion (okay, I’m pretty sure I was watching a film by some sort of overly-clichéd director, and was most likely baked out of my skull) that I should have gone to film school. It was never something I even remotely considered, but I think it would have been pretty fucking sweet.
ANYWAY, because of this latent desire, I sometimes feel the need to write my opinions on films I have seen. So, enjoy the exorcism of my half-baked scheme.
I recently saw the film Revolutionary Road and really enjoyed it, as I knew I would, because Kate Winslet + Leonardo Dicaprio = two of the greatest actors of our time, in my humble opinion.
Something that was quite striking to me was the intimacy of the filmmaking. I recalled after the film that Kate Winslet’s husband (Sam Mendes) directed the film, to which the unique presentation can probably be attributed. There was something vaguely marked about way the story of this couple was told, and I had trouble conceptualizing precisely what it was, but I really think the best way to describe it is that it was particularly intimate–every facet of their marriage, their emotions, and the complex interplay between the two, came across on the screen. It really seems fitting and explanatory that there existed this incredibly close relationship between the person behind the camera and the person in front of it (as much of the film revolved around Kate’s character).
Aside from the philosophical takeaway I got from the film, I enjoyed it stylistically–the music/costumes/set design were magnificent and made the story far more engaging. The acting was absolutely superb, not only in the lead roles, but there were a number of supporting characters (namely, Leo’s work buddies, their overzealous garden-obsessed neighbor, and her institutionalized son) that I felt added a lot to the film and whom I thought about afterward. Some of the dialogue was a bit much for me (some of the lines actually made me laugh, during dramatic scenes) but that is a complaint I have fairly often.
The ‘story’ was basically of these two people and their perceptions, interactions, and methods of coping with a life that had not been meticulously constructed to suit them. They questioned whether or not this was the life they’d imagined (any Thoreau fans out there?) and what–if anything–they could change in their collective life to increase their satisfaction with it. To be more precise, the fundamental concept that underlied their conundrum (in my view) was whether their circumstances needed to be altered, or if it was simply their perception that needed changing.
I often wonder this in my own life–particularly because I tend to do things that I think I am expected to do. A perfect example would be my choice to get a relatively serious job, when I was perfectly happy chilling and being a barista–I felt lazy and lame about that choice, but the truth is, I took time off from my studies so that I could have time to myself and not have to worry about the world’s idea of what I should want.
Ergo, this film really resonated with me. I think many of us ‘go with the flow’ only to one day look at our lives and wonder who told us that we had to want all of this…whether it’s the two kids and the picket fence in suburbia (as in the film) or a career in academia or medicine or some other pretty serious field (as in my life!)–as I think she said in the film, at some point, we just keep doing what we’ve been doing to prove to ourselves that it hasn’t all been a mistake.
Interestingly, the person who most identified with this notion in the film was the one who had been deemed insane. Kate’s character’s plans for “fixing” her life were portrayed as unrealistic, and yet the ‘crazy person’ in the film thought they were entirely necessary–this is very interesting to me and quite relevant, I think, in the overall conversation about what happiness is, and the role of desires and practicality within that conception.
I really enjoyed the film. It really spoke to the numbing nature of certain aspects of life and did a really wonderful job of examining different perspectives of life in suburbia, and life in general.
I’m not sure I’d view it again (although I very rarely view films twice due to my attention deficit) but it was very thought-provoking for me and I’m quite pleased that I finally got around to seeing it! Definitely worth seeing, blogga-buddies. :)