NOTE: This spoiler was sent in by Car2nist. who says... "The movie was done with such great pace and composition and cinematography, not to mention the great acting from a couple very powerful actors/actresses."
The movie begins at a house party, where Frank Wheeler (Leonardo DiCaprio) eyes April (Kate Winslet) from across the room. They go to the corner, are introduced, and chat. She says she is learning to be an actress.
Next scene we jump immediately to the end of a play, as the curtain is about to come down. We see April on stage appearing to be sad, and Frank is in the audience with a huge frown on his face. People clap and cheer and some are disappointed with the play, walking by Frank as they go on about how terrible it was. Mrs. Helen Givings (Kathy Bates) walks by and compliments Frank that his “wife” was terrific in the play. Frank smiles and walks away.
Frank goes to the backstage looking for April. On the way, he sees Milly Campbell (Kathryn Hahn), who was also in the play. She tells Frank that they are ready for that drink. Frank agrees and goes into a private room to find April devastated and changing. She tells Frank to tell Milly and her husband to use their nanny as an excuse to get out of the after party drink. Frank and April argue a bit, but Frank obliges.
We then see a far shot of Frank and April leaving in the hallway of a high school with an obvious distance between the two of them, not saying a word, even when they are in the car.
While driving, Frank turns and tells April how it wasn’t her fault that the play sucked, it was because it was unprofessional with lousy scripts and amateur actors and actresses around her. Not only does April not appreciate his comments, she asked Frank not to talk about it. They argue some more, and Frank pulls the car over. Frank tells April that he has no fault that the play sucked, he is very supportive, and he is not going to put up with any more of the bullshit she is giving him. April gets out of the car, and Frank follows angrily. They scream at each other about how Frank is always trying to talk things out and all she wants to do, is have peace and quiet and deal with it herself. The argument gets heated and April insults Frank about trying to be tough and manly, with Frank making a fist about to hit April. Frank control himself and starts to pound the hood of their car, hurting his hand. April tells Frank to take her home and get in the car. They drive off.
Now the title Revolutionary Road comes to the screen.
We see Frank getting ready to go to work. Dressed in a gray suit and a hat, he drives to the station and takes the train into the city. The setting is suburban Connecticut in the 1950’s. During the ride, we see April taking the trash out and stopping to see the neighborhood. She flashes back to sitting in the car with Frank with Mrs. Givings driving. Mrs. Givings is the realtor that got them the house they are living. Throughout the drive, Mrs. Givings keeps on mentioning how the two of them are so different than any other people in the neighborhood. This is a recurring reference, people mentioning Frank and April Wheeler as the model couple for the town. They come to the house that they will eventually buy, and we see April is delighted to see the house. Flash back to present day.
Frank is with hundreds of other people heading to work, and he shows it on his face that he is so miserable in this everyday routine. While riding the elevator, a cute young secretary gives him a glance and puts a smile on Frank’s face. Frank goes to his cubicle, and he trades pleasantries and miseries with his coworkers and is called into the boss’s office for a bad job he did. (We realize Frank works in “Knoxx” as a salesperson like his dad did all his life.)
Frank is ticked at being yelled at by his boss, so he revises his work with a half-ass and joking attitude that could very well cost him his job. Frank then goes to the cute secretary he saw earlier and asks her to type stuff out for him and goes on to take her out for lunch. During lunch, they drink martinis, and he calls in to tell the office that he needs the secretary for the day to help him do research, they both laugh. During their conversation, Frank tells the secretary a joke; the joke is that his dad worked all his life in the same company as a salesperson, and he thinks that he was the most miserable man he has ever known, and Frank swore never to be like him. And years later, Frank is doing the same job his dad did all his life. Frank also says today is his 30th birthday, and he is miserable.
Frank takes the secretary to a hotel, and they have sex. Frank then hurriedly leaves the place with a very casual goodbye, leaving the secretary feeling used. Frank goes home, and sees April all dressed up, and she gives him a kiss. She then surprised Frank with a birthday cake with their son and daughter. Frank tears up while they sing happy birthday to him.
Sometimes around this time of the movie, April is flipping through old pictures and finds a picture of Frank and his buddies. They are standing in front of the Eiffel tower. April has another flashback of the first night she slept with Frank. Frank tells her if he has a choice, he would live in Paris, where people have lives. April tells him that he is the most interesting person she has ever met.
At night, after a shower, April asks to talk to Frank. She proposes the idea that they have enough money to survive without work for six months, including selling the house. She wants them to move to Paris, where they can go live, and she can work as a secretary there. She believes that they pay so well for her position that Frank can finally have the time to enjoy his life. All in all, to get away from this misery they are in right now. Frank at first just laughs off the idea, but then begins to buy into it. They agree and hug.
They break the news to their friends Shep and Milly Campbell. Their friends are shocked, but supportive, as Frank and April are so serious and so convincing of how their lives in Paris would be. At night, Shep and Milly laugh at this idea, but Milly also cries, maybe at the notion of friends leaving, or that the friends are onto better lives than theirs.
April invites Mr. and Mrs. Givings and their troubled son who currently resides in a psychiatric ward to a gathering (actually a favor to Mrs. Givings, who believes meeting the perfect couple will do her son good). John (Michael Shannon) is a very blunt man and has no sense of manners at all. Frank and April are patient and loving to allow John to ridicule everything they have to say. Frank and April mentioned they were leaving their lives here and starting a new one in Paris. This causes John to laugh at everything his mother believed, that the perfect couple couldn’t even stand this place. Frank and April ask John to go for a walk with them afterward.
During the walk, Frank and April learned that John gets electrocuted constantly for his mental problems, and in some ways, they bond during the talk. John asks why they are leaving here, and Frank’s answer was to leave this place of helplessness. John agrees, and says it takes a wise man to see it, but a brave man to admit this sense of helplessness.
In the next couple of weeks, as the Wheeler are preparing to for their new lives. April gets their visas and the whole traveling documents taken care of. Frank still goes to work, but with so much more joy. They seem to be happier now, no more arguments and very loving.
Frank is called into the boss’s office again one morning, with the chief executive inside as well. Frank is so sure he is going to get fired this time (which he doesn’t care) for the half-ass work he did a couple of weeks ago. It turns out, his half-assed work hit the jackpot, and it got great reviews in the company, and Frank is getting offered a promotion to work with the chief executive on a new project: computers.
Frank doesn’t take the job yet and doesn't mention it to April at home either. They are so happy that they are taking this step at a new life, they make love right there in the kitchen.
After awhile, the chief executive call Frank in for a fancy dinner to talk about this promotion. The chief executive wants Frank in, but Frank is tempted, but not fully willing to take the job. Frank asks if he knows his father, who worked in the company for 30 years, the chief said no. But the chief tells him that a man only gets a couple of chances in life, and when the opportunity comes, he better grab onto to it as tight as possible, because their just might not be another one coming ever. That gets Frank to start thinking.
Later, April tells Frank that she is eight weeks pregnant. Frank gets worried and so is April. She says there are options as long as it is before the 12th week. Frank is supportive, but they argue that the kid would not be an option for them to take to Paris because it changes the whole plan. Frank is not supportive of the idea of abortion, (also because he is tempted by the big promotion). It all ends well this night as they stand by each other’s sides.
Next, we see the Wheelers and the Campbells at the beach enjoying the sunshine and the water. Frank, knowing April is hearing the conversation, speaks loudly of what a great opportunity and how much more money his is offered for the promotion to Shep. April noticed Frank is starting to lean away from their idea of a new life, and they argue at the beach before Frank jumped into the water to cool off.
At night, they argued some more, and Frank goes to the restroom to cool off. While getting a towel, he notices an abortion kit (more like a pump with long tubes) in the shelf. He is furious and starts to scream at April. During the argument, she mentions that the reason why they moved here was that she was accidentally pregnant and that she doesn’t want them to decide another part of their lives due to pregnancy. She said she was not going to use it, but she got it just in case. They argued some more and April understands that Paris is no longer an option.
So the next day, Frank takes the promotion, and while staying late, goes out with the young secretary again.
Another night, Frank and April and Milly and Shep go to a bar that has a band playing and a lot of dancing. The Milly and Shep are happy that the Paris trip is not going to happen. Everyone is happy except for April. Frank asks April to dance but April says no, and then he goes on to dance with Milly instead. As they leave, their cars are blocked in, but both their nannies are waiting, so April stays with Shep, waiting for the car to be moved while Frank takes Milly home to deal with their nannies.
April goes back into the bar with Shep, and they start to dance with a lot of flirting and a lot of implications. Then April and Shep have sex in his car following that. Shep tells April that he loves her, and April tells him not to talk.
The next day, Frank sees April unhappy, and that they haven’t slept in the same bed ever since the Paris trip got canceled. Frank decides to tell April how much he loves and want to make her happy here at where they are right now. He goes so far as to tell her even that he had an affair with a girl, but he ended it. April was not even mad hearing it. She said she feels nothing because she no longer loves him. Just then, Mrs. Givings stops by along with her husband and her son John.
During the dinner, they mentioned that Paris is no longer an option and that April is going to have a baby. This gets John upset and starts to insult Frank and April. Saying that he is not a man anymore, because he is eating his words about the helplessness and all that. Frank starts to get mad and impatient while John finally goes on to say Frank only feels like a man because he knocked April up. This gets the Givings kicked out of the house, and on the way out, John jokingly apologizes but said he is happy about one thing, which is that he is not that kid that is going to be born into this miserable family.
When the Givings leave, April and Frank get into another heated argument. Frank is very emotional and angry that he slams the door, punches the wall, throws lamps, breaks chairs and is completely out of control. April says that if Frank touches her she will scream, Frank holds her hand, and she screams and runs out of the house. Frank chases after April into the woods.
April tells Frank to leave her alone, that she doesn’t want to talk things out; she just wants to be alone to think it through. So Frank complies and leaves her in the woods. While in the house, Frank lays in bed, worrying for April and her safety, but when she comes back, she does not come into the house, she just keeps smoking right outside the door while Frank stays in the house, with the lights in the house still off at night.
The very next morning, Frank is ready to go to work, and he sees a beautiful and rejuvenated April preparing breakfast, asking Frank politely how he wants his eggs. Frank is caught surprised but is relieved that the whole drama is done, and they go on to have the best breakfast he has ever had, as Frank puts it. During breakfast, he even talks about his work and the new computer to April, who is interested in every word he has to say. They kiss goodbye, and she walked him out to his car with a smile.
Back in the house, April cries while doing the dishes. She then calls the nanny to ask her to tell her children that she loves them very much. She then boiled a pot of water and laid down some towels on the bathroom floor while she holds the abortion kit in her hand as she closes the door. Then we see April gently walk down the stairs to the living room and looks out the window, as she bleeds all over the carpet and her skirts while she calls the ambulance.
At the hospital, Frank is worried and crying while Shep comforts him. Then Frank gets the news that April did not make it because she bled out too much even before the ambulance got to her.
The next scene we see the Milly and Shep with a new couple in their house and they are sharing this tragic story of the Wheelers. Shep walks out to the backyard and Milly follows suit. Shep tells Milly that he no longer wants to talk about the Wheelers, and Milly says ok. They hug and kiss and walked back inside the house.
The Milly and Shep mention that Frank moved back into the city with the kids, and he was the most devoted father there is, spending all his time with his kids. That is when we see a scene of Frank sitting on a park bench, watching his children on the swings. Frank just smiles when the kids called him, but he seemed very regretful.
In the final scene, we see Mrs. Givings sitting on the couch talking to her husband while he reads a newspaper. She talks about the town and the neighborhood and what it has become. When the husband mentioned the Wheelers, Mrs. Givings goes on and on about how crazy and dysfunctional they were despite their looks. As she is going on and on about it, Mr. Givings begins to turn down his hearing aids, all the while paying full attention to Mrs. Givings and her rambling, but he hears nothing now, as it is the only way he has learned to keep himself sane from living with a woman like Mrs. Givings.