What Began as a Movie Review of Revolutionary Road, But Became an Attempt to Solve the Mystery of Womanhood

Anyone watch this?  I mean–lots of people watched it as is evident by the number or nominations and awards it received.

I was drawn in… I have to admit–by the Kate and Leo reunion–I mean, no one can forget the romance of Titanic and you simply can’t sit down to watch a movie with them and not expect that same chemistry.  I expected the romance, but definitely not the drama.  I had no idea what I was in for.  Anyways–my point here is not to review the movie per se… I was just so…what’s the word–provoked by it -I guess I had to just say so.  That’s the cool thing about a blog.  It’s so self-indulgent.  When no one in your house will listen to you go on and on about a movie–you can blog away about it just to get it off your chest.

Well–I don’t claim to be some kind of film critic or expert.  I know nothing of camera angles or cinematography or acting really–but I know when all the elements come together for me and cause me to engage and then really consider a character or plot–then the filmmakers probably achieved their goal.  That’s what good art does after all–a movie, a painting, a book–they should make you think, question, and accept some truth of this life.  I won’t ruin it for you with a long summary–I’ll just say the movie captured something with a subtle honesty that made me think–“I’m not sure if I liked this movie, but I certainly can’t stop thinking about it.”

So–here’s the deal..Beautiful woman with dreams of becoming something grand gets sucked into the predictably boring life of a suburban housewife when she becomes pregnant and they just sort of “end up” making a life and a family and a home together in picture perfect Connecticut.  When she begins to want more and suggest that she is unhappy in the ho-hum life she had there in the suburbs, her husband suggests she’s insane–the idea being that it’s absolutely crazy that a woman should need more than a beautiful home with a husband and children.  Mind you the measures she takes in her attempts to cling to her self are appalling, but the acting and the subtlety of it all sort of get you on her side.   But then that makes you feel horrible–to actually empathize with this woman who essentially “escaped” it all by way of ..well–I don’t want to give it away but–in the end “connecting” with her feels wrong, and yet you cannot ignore the truth of her convictions.  Now this movie is set in the 50s–before women with such urges actually acted on them and left their families.  NOOO!!  I am not saying I think she would’ve been right to leave her family!!  NO! I am definitely not saying she had the right to perform the whole–home abortion that killed her in the movie–oops spoiler, sorry.

What I’m saying is that that’s what made it a good movie.  It’s so relevant to every woman.  Some women will hate April Wheeler, some will cry for her, but.. we all know her, and perhaps even are her.  I could understand her hopelessness and desire to just break out of the trap–my Victorian lit. professors would undoubtedly cite the phrase ‘domestic sphere’ here–and I don’t mean I understand because I identify–I just mean I understand.  So there’s the issue.  You can’t say you understand without seeming like some kind of womens’ lib activist.  But as a woman, it’s no mystery that it is difficult to preserve your own identity because the roles of wife and mom have a way of sort of erasing–or I guess–overwhelming whoever you were before you were that.  See–there it goes again.  You ask how I could say such things?  Aren’t I a good, Christian wife and mom-isn’t the Proverbs 31 woman at her best in that very ‘domestic sphere’ April so wanted to escape in the movie?  Am I suddenly in your opinion, less of a good woman because a movie provoked me to consider that marriage could be some form of entrapment?  IT WAS JUST A MOVIE FOR GOODNESS’ SAKE!! And yet…  There’s the part of me that says the demise of the country is obviously tied to the breakdown of the family, which may have come partly as a result of women leaving the home to pursue their own dreams and desires, and led to moral corruption all around because no virtuous woman could be found!!  Which of course goes right back to who?  EVE of course–her and that stupid apple!

So again–what kind of woman blames this country’s lack of morality on the fact that women went to work?  I mean–there are women doctors, police officers, soldiers, scientists–I mean, how insulting is that??  That I would suggest such a thing is like the ultimate betrayal of the sisterhood!!  I guess that’s the point I’m trying to make–how does a woman balance being beautiful and talented and smart and good at all sorts of things not limited to the home, while still committing herself to making the home a haven for her family?  Is it even possible?  Can a woman achieve her own goals and still rise to the call of being a wife and mom?  Is there really some sort of supermom out there who’s got it all together–working towards her own goals, raising her kids, feeding her family homemade gourmet in her sparkling clean, beautifully decorated home where all who enter feel all warm and welcome and her husband feels like a king?  Or is it just another weapon of the enemy formed to make women feel like failures no matter what they do.  Stay at home and raise great kids–you missed out on life and forgot about you.  Go to work and discover a cure for cancer–you thought only of yourself and forgot about your kids.  Go to work to make some extra money to help out–you made your husband feel inadequate.  Stay home –you’re spoiled and lazy.  OMG!!  Where does it end?

I guess this is what adulthood is about because it strikes me just now that men are not necessarily content with the whole wife, kids, house, SUV thing either now are they?  Please…let’s just not start on that –I mean– I didn’t even mention the affairs and the whole- “wife was gonna work in Paris” thing.  (From the movie people–not my life!!)

Oh yeah, this was supposed to be a movie review…So I’ll close with this–you want romance–just stick with Titanic.  You want to stay up all night having an internal debate on when, where, and what things a woman actually gets to choose, this could be the ticket.  If you enjoy feeling slightly depressed and increasingly guilty about movie characters and what they may reveal about your own character–and you want to spend the next day blogging and trying to figure out God’s will for women–wondering if you could work from home so you can make money, but not too much money, and stay young and vibrant despite the exhaustion of cheerfully and lovingly performing the endless tasks of meals and laundry, life and love–then hey, watch Revolutionary Road–and let me know if you come up with any answers.

*Disclaimer:  In no way does this post reflect any unhappiness on my part with home, family, marriage, parenthood, or God. Again–it was a movie for cryin’ out loud!

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2 responses to “What Began as a Movie Review of Revolutionary Road, But Became an Attempt to Solve the Mystery of Womanhood

  1. Nicole Paust

    Great observation and very well put Jonelle! I too have had those same thoughts and became exhausted at trying to figure it all out. Life doesn’t come with answers and tomorrow is never promised, with that said, in whatever it is we do each day, we should give thanks to the Lord and ask for constant guidance…let Him lead the way…it’s just less stressful that way… =)

  2. Sissy

    Wow sissy!!! Although I have never seen this movie ( humm how did I let that one get by me)?I was truly clinging to every word, very well said. I am not a married woman, or a stay at home mom, but I agree with you when watching certian characters play roles that make u put ur own life in perspective and causes some reflection about certian times or events. Almost like a song that makes u say ” that’s about me, my
    life” etc. I truly need to watch the movie to see how it all effects me, but when I think about the 50’s I can see how knowing what we do know ( history) and how the world was coming up on making major changes for women how one could feel trapped… Well maybe I shouldn’t say much more til I see the movie. Love reading ur blog and seeing u with every word u write.

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