In the late 1940s, Frank Wheeler (Leonardo DiCaprio) meets April (Kate Winslet) at a party. He is a longshoreman, hoping to be a cashier; she wants to be an actress. Frank later secures a sales position with Knox Machines, for which his father worked for twenty years, and he and April marry. The Wheelers move to 115 Revolutionary Road in suburban Connecticut when April becomes pregnant.
The couple becomes close friends with their realtor Helen Givings (Kathy Bates) and her husband Howard Givings (Richard Easton), and neighbor Milly Campbell (Kathryn Hahn) and her husband Shep (David Harbour). To their friends, the Wheelers are the perfect couple, but their relationship is troubled. April fails to make a career out of acting, while Frank hates the tedium of his work. Meanwhile, Helen asks the couple to meet her son, John (Michael Shannon), who had been declared insane, to try to help better his condition. They accept.
April wants new scenery and a chance to support the family so that Frank can find his passion, and so suggests that they move to Paris to start a new life away from the "hopeless emptiness" of their repetitive lifestyle.
The Givings (including John) talk with April and Frank. During the conversation, the Wheelers tell the Givings about their plans to live in Paris. Surprisingly, the only person that seems to comprehend their decision is John.
As the couple prepares to move, they are forced to reconsider. Frank is offered a promotion, and April becomes pregnant again. When Frank discovers she is contemplating having an abortion, he is furious and starts screaming at April, leading to a serious altercation, in which April says that their first child was a "mistake".
The next day Frank takes the promotion and tries to accept his uneventful life. At the end of an evening at a jazz bar with the Campbells, Shep and April end up alone together and have sexual intercourse in the car. Shep professes his long-held love for April, but she rejects his interest.
The following day, Frank confesses to having had an affair with a female assistant at his office, hoping to reconcile with April. To his surprise, April responds apathetically and tells him it does not matter as her love for him has gone, which he does not believe. The Givingses come over for dinner, and Frank announces to the guests that their plans have changed, as April is pregnant. John harshly lambasts Frank for crushing April's hope as well as his acceptance of his circumstances. Angered, Frank nearly attacks John, and the Givings hurry out. Afterwards, Frank and April have a severe verbal altercation, after which April flees the house.
Frank spends the night in a drunken stupor but is shocked to find April in the kitchen the next morning, calmly making breakfast. April's mood seems to have improved, but after bidding goodbye to Frank, she breaks down and prepares to perform her own vacuum aspiration abortion, which proves fatal. Shep goes to the hospital to support Frank, who hysterically tells him, "she did it to herself." April dies in the hospital due to complications following the abortion.
Frank moves to the city and starts selling computers. He spends all of his extra time with his children. A new couple, the Braces, buy the house and we hear Milly telling the story of the Wheelers to them. Shep stops the story and walks out of the house, crying.
Helen talks to her husband years later about how the Braces seem to be the best-suited couple for the Wheeler's old house. When her husband mentions the Wheelers, Helen starts to talk about why she didn't like them. As she continues talking about all of the things that she didn't like about them, her husband turns off his hearing aid.
After watching Revolutionary Road last night I got to thinking how much like April I am, and how much like Frank Andrew is, which brought me to thinking about how much like April and Frank we all are.
The thought that springs to mind is, 'the grass is greener on the other side'! But is it? In our household this has been discussed on so many occasions. We play ping-pong with our lives as they are now and as we would wish them to be. We acknowledge how good we have it, but we also want more. We love living in Beautiful Cumbria but would love to live somewhere else in Europe, where there sun shines more often than it does in Cumbria, or in the UK as a whole for that matter, and where there isn't so much rain. We have beautiful things, but we want more. We have, we want. I could go on!
Why are we, and so many others, maybe even everybody, dissatisfied with our lives? I don't think we are unique as people, Andrew and myself, that is, we may be a little deeper thinking that most but I suppose that is because we are revolutionaries at heart.
Who said this is the way it is meant to be? Who said that this is the way we should live? Why have we all bought into it? Why do we moan about how wrong our lives are but never change them? I think that these are the questions that April was asking and are most certainly the questions that I ask. I see my husband working a very good job, earning decent money. This it is not his dream, he has so much more going on, inside he is a designer and inventor, but he's sold himself to the highest bidder. I see myself playing 'happy families' in suburbia, living a mundane, boring life that involves nothing more than, cooking, cleaning and homemaking. Yet I too am so much more, I want to read, and write books, I want to help people, I want to change the world, I want to debate profound things with other profound minds. Together we dream about it, just as April and Frank did, and sometimes we even plan to make those dreams and ideas reality.
However, so far, something stops us and we never actually do it! Why is that?
I believe we are all bound and kept in place by those with the power. We have been hypnotised and then told what our place in society is, and most never question this because they don't, or can't, see it. For others, they are too afraid to question things for too long because they have no idea how to change their lives in the ways they dream about. Mostly, we just don't know anything different and although we dare to dream a different life we daren't live out those dreams.
I think that this is because it changes the status quo and our own equilibrium and that feels uncomfortable for us, so we stay with what feels right, and stay stuck. Dr Joe Dispenza, Dr David Hamilton, Candace Pert, and many others talk about the biophysical biochemical nature of our bodies and how we are made up of chemicals that are just waiting for their fix. I believe that the powers that be, with or without understanding this fully, use this to their advantage and get us all hooked on the chemicals of suburbia so that revolutionary chemicals can't surface and in some way upset the status quo. These addictions are now so strong that our revolutionary chemicals are becoming extinct and the few people left with them are fighting against belief systems that are so strongly entrenched in addiction that they don't stand a chance of even little change until they are able to let go of their own addictions and stay uncomfortable for long enough to make a difference in their own lives. Much like April and Frank, really. How deeply they are caught inside a world they want to flee.
For Frank this meant a promotion, more money, more suburbia and the need to anaesthetise himself more. But for April it was simply too much, she simply couldn't go on as she had been, and heartbreakingly announces, 'I don't know who I am'. So she took the risk and tried to change her life by herself. It didn't pay off because she ended up losing the mediocre life she was living as well as the potential for the life she so desperately wanted and needed. I think that maybe she would have died anyway, that's if she wasn't already dead inside. She'd come to hate the man she fell in love with because he was too powerless to change his life into the dream, she hated his weakness and the shallow way he simply fell back into what was expected of him. She wanted more.
She wanted more than the 'hopeless emptiness' that life seems to offer.
And so do I ...