Pritam Roywrote on Feb 6 2009 10:35AM
Adapted from the landmark novel by Richard Yates, director Sam Mendes (American Beauty) reunites Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio in this incisive portrait of a 1950s American marriage which poses the question which has been reverberating through modern relationships every since: can two people break away from the ordinary without breaking apart. April and Frank Wheeler are a young, thriving couple living with their two children in a Connecticut suburb in the mid-1950s. But despite their best intentions they find themselves becoming exactly what they didn't want. Their self-assured exterior masks a creeping frustration at their inability to feel fulfilled in their relationships or careers. Frank is mired in a well-paying but boring office job, and April is a housewife still mourning the demise of her hoped-for acting career. Determined to identify themselves as superior to the mediocre sprawl of suburbanites who surround them, they hatch an audacious plan to start all over again but each spouse is pushed to extremes, one to escape whatever the cost and the other to save all that the have, whatever the cost. They decide to move to France where they will be better able to develop their true artistic sensibilities, free of the consumerist demands of capitalist America. As their relationship deteriorates into an endless cycle of squabbling, jealousy and recriminations, their trip and their dreams of self-fulfillment are thrown into jeopardy.