Revolutionary Road – Power of Idealism

revolutionary-road-movie-poster-etbscreenwritingThe film Revolutionary Road tells the story of Frank and April Wheeler (Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet), two Power of Idealism characters who feel trapped in the bonds of a mundane suburban lifestyle. It is a devastating shock to discover they are more like their neighbors than not.

Power of Idealism characters fear living and loving without the passion and intensity of a Grand Destiny. They want their lives to matter and their love to mean something important in the greater scheme of things.

These characters fear not attaining their true pinnacle of excellence, courage or nobility. They worry about not fulfilling their highest potential. These characters fear a lack of deep and true meaning in their lives and love. Consumed by such fears of mediocrity, meaninglessness or mundane-ordinariness, Frank and April become bitter and deeply disillusioned.

Although Frank and April have no special talents, they are convinced they are destined for something extraordinary. When a trip to France doesn’t pan out, because April becomes pregnant and Frank is offered a lucrative new job, their marriage and their lives fall apart. April kills herself in despair, by inducing an abortion at home.

The yearning and the longing “for something more extraordinary” creates a white hot intensity of feeling. In contrast, long-term relationships and the comfortable companionship that committed loving couples (and families) share seems suffocatingly pedestrian to these characters. The sheer ordinariness of day-to-day love is a staggering disappointment to Frank and April.

Power of Idealism ETB ScreenwritingIn order to find salvation, Power of Idealism characters must turn away from the Dark Side of narcissism and the yearning to be “special.” They must learn to find the magic and passion in the small details of life with family, friends and the ordinary miracle of being alive.

Power of Idealism characters often are unprepared to make the ordinary, small, everyday sacrifices real long-term love requires, especially when there are children involved. These characters would rather fantasize about a perfect or “unattainable” love than try to make a less than perfect love work. Their tragedy is failing to accept the limitations of being human. That is the tragedy of Revolutionary Road.

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