"Tell me the truth, Frank: remember that? We used to live by it. And you know what's so good about the truth? Everyone knows what it is, however long they've lived without it. No one forgets the truth, Frank; they just get better at lying"
- April (Kate Winslet)
At a glance:
The re-teaming of Titanic stars Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet produces an one-note, distasteful tale about a dysfunctional couple whose acceptance of the mediocrity of suburban life leads to anger, despair, and tragedy
A young married couple (Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet) with kids feels stagnated and trapped in suburban life. He’s a salesman who finds no passion or enjoyment in his job. She’s a housewife/mother/actress who hates seeing him languishing in mediocrity and not pursuing his dream. She hatches a plan to move to Paris – the place he loved so much during the war. Surprisingly, after initial resistance, he agrees. But then an unexpected promotion at work and other issues make him begin to question his decision. Yes, it’s true; we’re supposed to dedicate two valuable hours of our lives watching these bumbling dolts and their dysfunctional relationship as they waver, argue, achieve brief happiness, and then throw it all away. To inject some modicum of interest, the pot is stirred by a no-holds-barred friend of a friend, John (Michael Shannon), who makes rude yet insightful comments about the couple in their own home while hiding behind his ‘disability’ (he’s on release from a mental institution). The story is told so slowly, giving the impression that there’s more here than meets the eye – but, sadly, this isn’t true. In the end, it goes a long way to tell a story that is simply about lost opportunities and couples who are no longer coupled. I’m sure it could have been compressed into a 30 second public service announcement in the right editor’s hands.
There’s nothing wrong with the acting, although there’s some question in my mind whether Leonardo DiCaprio is truly an A-grade thespian. Michael Shannon nabbed a Best Supporting Actor nomination as the crazy guy who speaks his mind. And Thomas Newman’s evocative music keeps making you think that something is going to happen.
Other reviewers said:
"Sooner or later it becomes very hard to escape the sense that nothing actually happens in this film."
-Marc Fennell (Triple j)
"The acting is amazing but the story is one long drive to despair."
- Jackie K. Cooper (jackiekcooper.com)
"It leaves you feeling voyeuristically sullied; scrubbing the blood out of your mental carpet, privy to something simultaneously indulgent and inconsequential."
-Lorien Haynes (Little White Lies)