I'll do my best to avoid requiring a special spoiler alert but I just feel a duty to warn my fellow wives and mothers about Revolutionary Road.
I went in completely blank. I could tell from the trailer that it was some kind of heartbreaking/aching look at suburban life...but that's it. It might have been funny in parts, it might have been uplifting, it might have been any combination of suburban life and anything else. I wasn't quite sure. I did know enough to know that I wasn't really looking forward to seeing it. When was I going to feel like spending two hours away from my kids in a dark room watching a young vibrant couple deteriorate?
And then it went and got all mentioned at the Awards shows... and I ended up deciding that it was one of the movies I should see.
I went with another mom when the kids were at school on Thursday. We sat in a row behind Lauren Hutton--and I spent a little bit of time wondering if I should tell her that I was her personal shopper at FAO Schwarz about eighteen years earlier, and that I remember she had an eight year old boy with her who was in to Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and that I hand-delivered her purchase to her Noho loft, and then decided not to.
I won't give away any specifics about the movie, but I can say that when the lights came on again a few hours later my mom friend and I turned to each other in tears and said 'at least we live in Brooklyn...that's different, right?'
The movie's stayed with me these past few days. Every now and then I feel myself slipping into despair about all the dreams I had when I was younger and about how having children means that I won't ever realize those dreams, and I shake a mental fist at the movie for putting all that pessimism into me at such a vulnerable time.
I had breakfast with another mom the next morning and was telling her why the movie depressed me.
It hit me in all my weak spots, I said.
Like what? she asked.
Well, before my third child was born I had this idea that my husband and I could do a house swap for some portion of the year, and everyone kept telling me that I couldn't do that because of school. And I really hated hearing that because, like, who makes up those rules? Why can't we just live somewhere else for awhile and not get all trapped by the limitations of the school year and testing and stuff. And I half expected and fully hoped this friend to agree with me that anything is really possible and that I shouldn't feel like I can't have these enriching experiences just because I have children.
But she didn't. But you can't do those things once you have children, she said definitively and in a tone that made me feel like a silly little girl for thinking I could.
And I want to be strong in the face of it...just like Kate and Leo with their schadenfreudey neighbors. But it's winter time, and my mood is low, and even though I have the life I want and I'm even getting to do some great travelling in the midst of it, I've let go of certain dreams, dreams that people told me I shouldn't bother to have, but that I wanted to have anyway. And that's what depresses me.
So be warned, if you're thinking about going to the movie. Yes I live in Brooklyn (not Connecticut) and yes I saw the movie in a row behind Lauren Hutton which probably doesn't happen in the suburbs too much. But it got to me, and I can't let go of it. It's going to take a whole lotta lighthearted date movies (He's Just Not That Into You? anyone?) to bring me out of this funk.
7 years ago