Hao and I watched Burn After Reading this evening (which was a rather “meh” film), and on our way into the theatre where the film was screened, we passed a poster for an upcoming film which caught my eye: one for the upcoming film, Revolutionary Road.
One of my all-time favourite novels is going to be put into film? With the Titanic duo Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet? Hmm… Well, Leonardi DiCaprio can definitely play a 50s-era gent, as I thought he did well in Catch Me If You Can, and I like Kate Winslet as an actress, and her husband Sam Mendes is the director, popular for his American Beauty film. But, when it comes to a representation of Richard Yates’ work, I have some concerns. This is not a happy novel, and any attempts at sugar-coating the angst and inured emotions of the characters would be extremely disappointing.
If you have not yet read the book, please do so. Revolutionary Road was my introduction to Richard Yates, an author whom I hold in high regard for his rather bleak, depressing, yet truthful stories. I haven’t yet read all his work, only his collected short stories and Easter Parade in addition to Revolutionary Road. Yates is a little bit pre-beat in his writing, perhaps “proto-beat,” for lack of a better term. Initially published in 1961, Revolutionary Road was a look past the sunny facade of the American Dream, staring hard at the day-to-day despiration of what could be any suburban family.
For further reading, I dug up a Slate article from last year that deals with Richard Yates’ novel, and the Hollywood history behind it. I found out a bit more about Yates, who had visits to psychiatric wards and died broke, which gives me all the more reason to laud him further. I’ll have to read Blake Bailey’s biography on Yates at some point. For now, though, here is his Wikipedia article.
If you like to read, you’ve got until the day after Christmas to acquaint yourself with Yates’ novel before the film comes out. You can see the trailer for it here. My opinion is that the trailer seems a bit too dramatic, but all film trailers seem to play up on the drama and emotion. I just hope the film isn’t like that. There’s something to be said for nuance.