This was a much more substantial and thoughtful film than I’d expected. Not such a chick flick, after all, it makes some serious points about what we start off wanting in life, how we change over time, what we settle for in the end and the damage done along the way.
The young couple (Winslet & De Caprio) at the centre of the story start out with exuberant dreams of living in Paris and take some delight in kicking against the social conventions of the day – the film is set in the US in the 50s.
Unfortunately, De Caprio seems to get sucked ever further into the illusions of suburban life and of playing the rat race. Winslet cannot bear the tedium of fulfilling her socially acceptable role of good housewife and mother, so she desperately tries to reach out to the part of De Caprio that used to share her dreams. Are the couple just drifting apart naturally as they grow up? Are they being pushed in opposite directions by social expectations? As Paris becomes ever more unlikely, Winslet eventually feels compelled to take drastic action to force a change, with tragic consequences for the family.
John Lennon memorably said ‘life is what happens when you are busy making other plans’ and this film is a gentle but impressive look at how that can happen to even a close loving couple if they stop consciously working together at achieving their dreams and let social conformity beat them down.