This is a story of desperation in the 1950s played by Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet. The young couple, Frank and April, meet at a party, get married, has two children, a house in the suburbs, a car, furniture, parties, drinks after work, cigarettes all the time, and empty hearts through and through.
They dream of throwing it all away and moving to Paris, she working as a secretary or translator, he following his dreams, which he does not even know what they are.
Life in the 1950s was simpler. The only electric gadget was the black and white TV. To entertain yourself, you had to read, go out to the bars and dance, have dinner with the neighbors or take a walk in the woods. It’s hard for us to imagine now how that can be stressful.
But Frank hates his job, set in a cubicle surrounded by many others like it, a secretarial pool down the hall, glass corner offices where the bosses scheme things. He works 8 to 5, wears a suit and hat, while April stays at home, takes care of the kids and lives in deep longing.
American Beauty comes to mind, the movie where nothing is what it seems.
With Frank and April, everything is what it seems, a quiet and sometimes loud desperation, but neither they themselves, nor the neighbors, nor the real estate lady, fess up to it.
Until the real estate lady and her husband bring over their adult son, with a Ph.D. in mathematics, but committed to a mental institution. They call him crazy, but it is obvious that the only thing crazy about him is that he detects the truth about everything and everyone around him instantly, accepts no hypocricy from anyone and speaks his mind so brutally honestly that if feels like he’s using martial arts. It’s like he’s slicing the bullshit in the air with a Samurai sword. He is truly joy to watch among all these stale and zombie-like people. No wonder they locked him up.
But Frank and April don’t quite have the strength to listen to him, face their own demons, and more and more they slip into despair.
Watching this film and all the smoking in it made my eyes water. But it was worth it.