Box art for Revolutionary Road

Revolutionary Road


Based on the bestseller by Richard Yates, this mesmerizing and moving story follows the lives of a passionate young couple living in suburban Connecticut who decide to risk everything to pursue their dreams.

Rotten Tomatoes® scores

  • Critic Score
  • Audience Score

common sense

PAUSE for kids age 16
0 out of 5
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Positive messages
0 out of 5
4 out of 5
2 out of 5

Intense adult drama shocks but doesn't awe.

what 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.

what families can talk about

  • Families can talk about how the main characters' relationship/interactions make teens feel. What kind of parents were they? How do you think children are affected by a relationship like April and Frank's? Also, how does the era in which the story is set shape it? What were the 1950s and 1960s like for men and women? Were gender roles limited? Why did April and Frank -- and scores like them -- try to adapt? How did they try to retain their individuality? Were they successful?

movie reviews from Rotten Tomatoes®

Top Critic Reviews

Fresh: Viewers in the mood for rip-snorting marital combat should go ahead and partake, but they must prepare to leave the theatre in a state of profound depression.

- Amy Biancolli, Houston Chronicle, Friday, January 9, 2009

Fresh: Sam Mendes's spiritually depleted film exerts an undeniable pull as its beautiful, doomed protagonists navigate the ennui of adult life. Revolutionary Road provides an apt bookend to a holiday season drenched in fatalistic gloom.

- Ann Hornaday, Washington Post, Monday, January 5, 2009

Rotten: Unlike the novel, which you can set aside and take a break, with the film version of Revolutionary Road, you're in for the duration, and it's ultimately too much to take.

- Bill Goodykoontz, Arizona Republic, Monday, January 5, 2009

Audience Reviews

5 stars

Sam Mendes' "Revolutionary Road" is as haunting as can be. Look no further for proof that Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio are two of the top actors in their generation. Sam Mendes crafts a film that is bleak, complex and knowing. It plays like an abrasively enjoyable literary exercise.

- stevenecarrier, Tuesday, February 15, 2011

3 stars

Cautionary tale about our warped sense of achievement and the mindless pursuit of the 'American Dream'. *Is it just me or is Leonardo DiCaprio gravitating toward any role that will allow him to wear a fedora? (i.e. Revolutionary Road, Shutter Island, Catch Me If You Can, The Aviator, J. Edgar, etc.)

- flixsterman, Tuesday, February 1, 2011

3 stars

The novel is an American classic that lays bare the many pitfalls of the American Dream, but unfortunately, the film doesn't quite keep up. Don't get me wrong, it's passable, but it's a generally dour affair bogged down by a distracting and repetitive score as well as an unfortunately wooden male lead. Usually, I like DiCaprio, but it appears that here, he was just outclassed, (again), by Kate Winslet, who's such a natural by comparison. Ironically, the film's speechiness looked a little like the community theatre that it opens by deriding, and frankly, the words sounded better on the page. But,kudos to director Sam Mendes, for some scenes - in particular, the roadside bar where the Wheelers and the Campbells go dancing - looked exactly like I pictured them in the novel, and so did two characters: John Givings (Michael Shannon) and his mother, Helen (Kathy Bates). Shannon especially deserves notice, as his Academy Award nomination was earned with very little screen time (like "Anthony Hopkins in Silence of the Lambs" little!), and he spoke his lines like both an actor and a character with a deep appreciation for the irony of the scenarios. On screen, Revolutionary Road makes for a decent and in places unflinching film, but sadly, it's not as good as I had hoped. If you have to choose, I'd say read the novel - if I hadn't, I'm not sure I'd have sat through the depressing and kind of boring movie it became.

- danperry17, Friday, January 21, 2011