An unworthy Deacon, named for the brother of God: James, striving to "work out his salvation with fear and trembling" within the Tradition (paradosis) of the Eastern Orthodox Faith. It is a strange and marvelous journey, and I am accompanied by the fourfold fruit of my fecundity. My wife, the Matushka or Diaconissa Sophia, is my beloved partner in the pursuit of Theosis, and she ranks me in every way.
The whole film revolves around what one might call the perfect 1950's family...Ozzy and Harriet...at least on the outside. I do not believe there is a single happily married couple portrayed in the whole film. Happiness in the repressive 1950's is, we are being told, a facade...a lie.
Well Winslet's and DiCaprio's unhappily married characters apparently come to realize this - being the enlightened elders that they are - and so decide they must break free and do something in order to save their marriage and their very souls..or something like that. The solution is obvious to them: He quits his job and they all move to France where he can write, hang at the Moulan Rouge and drink absinthe or something like that...my interest slowly deteriorated as the film went on so I may forget some details or confuse them. Was there singing in this movie?
I had a slight glimmer of hope that the film would have them make the move and then come to find out that nothing changes. Alas...the process by which they prepare for the plans has their marriage revived and their lives full of joy and color...think rainbows and dancing unicorns (if this had been animated...wait a minute...was it?) And then, their plans are brought to a screeching halt and everything collapses. All manner of despair, infidelity, and deadly home made abortions shatter their lives (yes, they even pitch the need for "choice"!)
The film almost seems to be saying: "Here are these wonderful bohemian-spirited free-thinking souls who are trapped in the evil repressive castle of the 50's generation and they make a bold effort to escape, but alas they fail. They are ensnared at the last moment...victims...mourn them...and be thankful we can be somewhat happy in our slightly less repressive age today."
In other words the film implies that if they had made it to France, they would have been okay. The enlightened culture of 1950's France would have saved them and set them free! Blech...this film gave me what they call in Uganda "Echidukano" (running stomach).
What have we learned from this two hour sermon: These poor souls needed to escape a "system" or a culture or a _____ (fill in the blank). Something external to themselves. It's always something external to ourselves isn't it? The eternal excuse of blaming the external for what we did and for what we failed to do...something or someone else. A system is a GREAT scapegoat! And these days we STILL have a great many people looking for external reasonings as to why they are not happy...and more and more people are looking to systems. If only I had a better job, more money, free health care...if only we could return our country to its "Christian heritage"...etc etc...all these things would make things right...and they would bring us happiness that we now lack.
But the TRUTH is...they (and we) need to escape OURSELVES!
Inner peace is what we really need. It matters not what is happening outside of us...nothing there can give to or take away from us inner peace.
Bp Kallistos Ware related this little story in "The Orthodox Way":
Sarapion the Sindonite traveled once on a pilgrimage to Rome. Here he was told of a celebrated recluse, a woman who lived always in one small room, never going out. Sceptical about her way of life, for he was himself a great wanderer, Sarapion called on her and asked, "Why are you sitting here?" To which she replied, "I am not sitting: I am on a journey."
Believe it or not...amidst the horrors of 1950's suburban social tyranny, some people were probably able to manage some degree of happiness - or at least a modicum of compromised satisfaction. I know it's hard to imagine, but if John Lennon...oh nevermind. But Inner Peace existed even prior to that. It existed (and still does) even in the hearts of martyrs whose heads were bowed to receive the swords or bullets of their executioners.
Now THAT'S a Revolutionary Road to travel...and you needn't even move.