When Leonardo DiCaprio, Kate Winslet, and Kathy Bates first appeared in a movie together the result was box office gold, lavishly sprinkled by the moviegoing public and critics alike; what a good idea, then, to bring the trio back together for a second bite at the big screen apple, this time in the film adaptation of Richard Yates' 1961 novel Revolutionary Road.
The film tells the story of a young couple, Frank and April Wheeler, who begin married life madly in love, but who end it simply by drifting apart as their shared goals never come to anything and their individual goals make it impossible for them to co-exist. The film deals with some extremely controversial subjects, not the least of which is abortion; April dies after trying to perform an abortion on herself, after which Frank is riddled with guilt and never really gets over her death.
The film was shot in sequence, on location, and the actors' spent three and a half weeks rehearsing together before shooting began. Because he wanted to create a claustrophobic feeling with the camera, director Sam Mendes (who was also, at the time, the spouse of Kate Winslet), decided to shoot the interior scenes in an actual house, rather than on a set, so that the feeling of not being able to escape from an excruciating situation was felt by the film's audience as well.
The film was premiered in Los Angeles in December 2008 before going on limited release in just three theaters; its wide release was confined to just over one thousand theaters. Despite this, the film took in over seventy five million dollars worldwide. Although it received three Academy Award nominations, including one for Michael Shannon in the Best Supporting Actor category - it ultimately did not win any; DiCaprio was nominated in the Best Actor category at the Golden Globe Awards, Winslet ultimately winning the Best Actress accolade.