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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
A husband and wife tear each other apart verbally and emotionally. They mean well but are hobbled by personal dissatisfaction, an inability to communicate, and predefined gender roles. They seem unaware of the effects of their relationship on their children and fight bitterly, loudly, and somewhat physically. Friends and neighbors care about them but can't seem to help but judge their decisions. Couples are unfaithful and betray the people close to them. Communities try to unify over a shared activity but fail. A woman contemplates terminating a pregnancy.
Violence & Scariness
A couple continually indulges in long, loud, drawn-out fights that lead to them either stalking off or challenging the other to hit them. Plenty of tears and insults.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
A woman's breasts are bared in a scene in which she's trying to appear casual after sleeping with a married man. A married couple has sex on the kitchen counter (no nudity); another couple, not married to each other, has sex in a car (lots of noises and movement, but again, no nudity). Many conversations about trysting.
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Runs the gamut, from the milder "damn" to "bulls--t" and "f--k."
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Characters smoke constantly (accurate for the era) and drink socially. Beer is consumed, but there seems to be a preference for hard liquor. Characters get drunk and cheat on their spouses.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this 1950s-set adult drama deals with themes that are probably too intense for younger teens. It explores a marriage on the brink of destruction, which can be painful to watch, and tackles subjects like infidelity, gender roles, abortion, and mental illness. The main characters fight constantly in long, drawn-out scenes and seem unaware of the effect their conflict is having on their children. There's also some nudity (bared breasts) and sex, as well as language, drinking, and era-accurate smoking. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
There's no doubting Winslet's acting prowess. Her April is wasted, exhausted, emotionally spent, and fighting to be alive. It's a sight to behold. As man-child Frank -- who can't quite reach his lost wife because he's lost himself -- DiCaprio starts out as if playacting but soon delivers a performance so raw that you forget who he is; by the movie's end, it feels as if we're intruding, but we can't look away -- he's that compelling. The rest of the cast is also strong.
But like April and Frank, who once seemed destined for a bright future, REVOLUTIONARY ROAD doesn't fulfill its promise. Though beautifully shot and well-acted, the film is hobbled by somewhat prosaic storytelling. Expository scenes come one after another, relieved by equally expository flashbacks. (AMC's Mad Men does this era so much better.) Yates' novel, on the other hand, is near perfect and heartbreakingly observant. Which isn't to say that our hearts aren't broken by the movie version; they are. But we recover quickly -- and with material as powerful as this, we really shouldn't be able to walk away intact.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.