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Welcome to The Fourth Wall, CHIRP's weekly e-conversation on cinema. This week's subject is the 2008 movie Revolutionary Road.
This edition is written by CHIRP Radio volunteers Kevin Fullam and Clarence Ewing.
The honeymoon is over. Now what?
Throughout much of Hollywood's history, it seems that marriage (especially the wedding) has been utilized as a feel-good capper on many a love story. It's practically a requisite for any traditional rom-com film, right? These tales are usually told from a female perspective*, where the heroine sets out to nab her beau, and the pair ride off into the scripted sunset, either just pre- or post-altar festivities.
[*though certainly not always -- but interestingly, similarly-styled relationship films with male leads (say, High Fidelity) are seldom referred to as romantic comedies.]
I've often wondered how much of an impact these messages have on our own desire to get hitched? The pressure comes from all sides in American culture: mass media, religion... hell, even the tax code subtlety encourages it. But for decades, scant attention was paid to the discarded husks of marriages gone wrong. And with a divorce rate estimated at around 50%, we have no shortage of fractured homes in the good ol' United States.
Celluloid has caught up in recent decades, with tales about the nightmare of child-custody battles (Kramer vs. Kramer), to the insanity of knockdown, drag-out enmity (War of the Roses). But I'm not sure that any film has done a better job of illustrating the Descent Into Marital Despair that's featured in Revolutionary Road.