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October 05, 2008


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I think you're right, but rather that people will show up in droves; older viewers because of all the Oscar wins and noms, plus the novel pedigree, and nostalgic Gen-Xers because wow, Kate and Leo in a movie again, playing another couple, only this time it's not a blockbuster but a Deep Serious Movie they can totally relate to because they're in lousy marriages that are disintegrating.

Personally, I've no plans to see it in theaters because it looks like yet another fucking movie about an upper-middle-class couple hating each other in the suburbs. I just don't find such stories exciting or engaging anymore. Unless Fay Weldon is involved, then I'm first in line.


I have that Yates novel lined up for later this year. I don't generally get into literature about the evils of the suburbs, as I generally find it condescending and smug. But Yates is so admired, and he really go in on the ground floor of that genre, so I'll have to give it a whirl.

As for the movie, well, Kate Winslet, and everything, so I'll see it eventually. Sooner rather than later, if I end up loving the book.

Matt Miller

"But see it, and talk about it, the "Mad Men" contingent will. And that's why the film will be a hit."

But, ratings-wise, "Mad Men" isn't even a hit as a TV show. It averages under 2 million viewers an episode.


Agreed that the movie will be a hit, but at the same time I can comfortably predict that the essence of the novel -- what it's actually about -- will be absent from the film, and audiences (most of whom have not read Yates' book) will be none the wiser. This is a damn shame.

That Yates wrote the novel without the distance from the period it's set in is remarkable. I cannot recommend this book strongly enough.

Owain Wilson

I honestly cannot see this film being a success of any note at the box office.


This movie is going to completely miss the point of the novel. I'm trying not to be so protective and bitter about all of it, but it's hard not to be. Richard Yates stands for something more honest and tragic and brutal and stomach-punching than a big-budget spectacle like this could ever dream of being. At the very-very least, I implore anyone who's never read RR to read it before they see the movie.


I said I was going to!

Herman Scobie

Mad Men may have miniscule ratings compared to all the reality garbage, but the people who watch it on TV and DVD are likely to be readers and filmgoers and hence may be interested in RR.

Dan Coyle

I agree with bill on that sort of take on the suburbs. Not because I'm from the suburbs, but so many of those takes go for the cheap, easy shock answers. I'm also one of the few who believes American Beauty is also one of the most overrated films of all time. So I think I'll pass.


This will garner 11 Oscar nominations and win 7.

We'll see how right I was.

About Mad Men. Ha ha ha ha.

Sorry. It, and by it I mean RR, will deffo be marketed as Titanic meets Mad Men (or a portion of 'the Hours'? Or 'Far From Haven'? Or 'Zombie Holocaust 3'?)

Mr. Hyppo

God I dunno - take away the poetry of the book's nuanced voice and you're left with miserable people in the miserable suburbs. In the 50s. Yes, nice suits but hmmm...

recktal brown

and take away the poetry of flaubert's nuanced voice and you're left with a miserable woman having an affar.

Glenn Kenny

@Matt Miller: Point well taken. "Contingent" is probably not the best word. That being the case...ratings are not necessarily the be-all and end-all of cultural barometers.

@bill, et. al.: The novel is not really a condemnation of the soullessness of the suburbs as much as it is an examination of the self-delusion of its characters. And inasmuch as it does condemn the "soullessness" of the suburbs, it's not programmatic about it—it's not saying "this wouldn't have happened in a socialist world!" It's an entirely human and appalling tragedy that, as we understand from the 20th century literature of Eastern Europe, could occur anywhere.


Glenn, I just can't help feeling that the time to make this novel into a movie was before the Summer of Love. I'll read the book at some point, since it came from the actual era. But the movie just doesn't feel like it's got anything to say to me that I haven't heard before, you know?


I agree with Owain, what was the last adult film to do well at the box office?


Glenn, Yates has been hovering in my to-be-read pile for a long time, so I'm more than willing to give the novel a fair shot. I can't this month, because obviously I have to read only horror fiction in October, but when that's up, I'll move on to Yates.


Doesn't this sound a tad like Far From Heaven?

Stephen Bowie

Sorry, but I'm going into this feeling that "Mad Men" is already the successful adaptation of "Revolutionary Road" that this movie won't be. The creative team dooms it already: Mendes did this material before (glibly) in "American Beauty," Kate Winslet did it before (unconvincingly) in "Little Children," and DiCaprio doesn't have the depth.

But, the Yates novel is the best thing I've read in five years or so ... so I'm bound to be disappointed.

Sterling Cooper

Bah, I still haven't read the Yates novel (I swear I'm gonna get to it before the movie comes out), but I have a bad feeling about this. The whole 50s-conformity-in-the-suburbs thing is so very tired that it's almost impossible to do in a fresh and interesting way. "Mad Men" (which I absolutely adore and revere) has perhaps the only convincing take on the subject I've ever seen on film—although that's not really accurate because "Mad Men" takes place, of course, in the early 1960s.

The (artistic) success of the film might live or die with its screenplay. Mendes is a tremendously exciting director and his films have all been visually interesting, but like many other visually-oriented filmmakers out there, he's somewhat at the mercy of his scripts. I happen to think Alan Ball's script for "American Beauty" was a piece of junk that both indulged in the worst cliches of suburban drama as well as launched a horrible new wave of suburbia-is-secretly-bad-beneath-the-veneer-of-normalcy crap in both TV and the movies. BUT, it was a beautifully directed film. So the "Revolutionary Road" screenplay — it isn't by Alan Ball, thank god (he was busy playing with vampires on HBO), but will it rise above the facile banalities of so many representations of '50s suburbia? (Wikipedia tells us that credited screenwriter Justin Haythe wrote a Booker Prize-nominated novel, which may or may not bode well.) And if it doesn't, will Mendes render it with enough of an artistic touch to make it a vital film anyway? Or will we all want to follow Don Draper's advice to Peggy and pretend that "this never happened. It will shock you how much it never happened"?


Well seeing how the film isn't even showing in a 200 mile radius of my middle eastern location, I highly doubt it will be very successful at the box office.

Glenn Kenny

You got me,sak! Well played!


Well, still not a hit. How long did it take for "The Shawshank Redemption" to be One of the Great Moving Experiences of Our Time?

Glenn Kenny

@ Partisan: And here's another thing I love about the Internet: One's dumbest, most off-the-mark predictions are accessible in a few keystrokes!

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