If you, like me, couldn’t figure out what Revolutionary Road was about from the trailer, this review of the novel upon which it is based will help:
On his return from Europe, in September, 1953, Yates went back to work, as a freelance copywriter, for the company that had hired him four years earlier, the business-machine giant Remington Rand. He found it dull, but said, years later, that “it occupied only about half of my working time and so financed the whole of my first novel.” For a year, he and his wife and daughter lived in a ranch-style house in Redding, Connecticut. It was this close suburban life, with its dreary drunken rituals and stolid neighbors, along with the Yateses’ frequent marital fighting, that provided the material for “Revolutionary Road,” though most of the book was written not there but in the small town of Mahopac, New York, where the Yateses lived in a ramshackle cottage on a genteelly rotting private estate.
In the novel, Yates and his wife become Frank and April Wheeler, who live in a suburban Connecticut house, at the end of what is called Revolutionary Road (past a new development called Revolutionary Hill Estates). It is 1955. Frank is anything but frank, and springlike April will die in the fall. Life on Revolutionary Road is theatrical. The novel begins with a performance, ends with a performance, and courses throughout with performances of one kind or another. As it opens, the local amateur dramatic group is presenting a play, “The Petrified Forest,” whose lead player is April Wheeler. The evening is a disaster—the actors lose their nerve and mangle the script—and, afterward, April and Frank argue violently. She is mortified by the disaster and wants to be left alone; he, wheedling and paternalistic, wants the husbandly right to soothe her, and thus assert a moist control.