The story revolves around a close knit weave of details of a series of subtleties of family life and seemingly minor issues that in reality bore into our lives and before we know it, leave us as mere empty shells, mere pretences. With its intense script and dialogues that edge on the idealistic , the film takes us into it slowly and in steps.It takes refuge in the small thoughts in an average person's head and elevates it to its rightfully deserving contemplation, through the medium of Mrs. Wheeler,who is the crux of the film.
The small thoughts, the little ideas in your head ; that make you day dream , give you the escape door to fantasy land, are an indispensible dosage require to live. I dream of going to Paris . Yes , it is a cliche, a whimsical fantasy , image driven and very eluding. the thing that incurs sniggers from your fellow mates. Nevertheless , my thoughts are my own.
So when the Wheelers decide one fine day, (actually it is Mrs. Wheeler who decides) to move to Paris in the hope of 'living' again as the 'special' couple they had always considered themselves to be, I couldnt help but feel like getting into the tv screen and hugging her! She is the strong woman, the one who values every thought in her head, the one who believes that one must be able to do what one always wanted to do. She wants to do things, get things happening, and cant stand wasting away into a mechanical existence. I like her !
In front of her, Mr. Wheeler seems faded, jaded, a person who is trying too hard at the wrong things and has lost himself in the process. He is the cliched and rubbed over concept of the middle aged family man who has taught himself to think that his teenage ambitions were mere fantasies.In one of their numerous high voltage arguments she says " You need guts to live the way you want to live and you dont have it!" , which more or less rounds him up.
The most intense anti-climax is the morning after their most distrubing fight. Kate winslet stuns with her acting, and Mrs. Wheeler stuns her viewers by appearing in the kitchen smiling and dressed tip -toe like the ideal housewife and asks her husband "Good morning! would you like scrambled eggs or fries eggs for breakfast?" It is the most tense and yet visualy the most calm sequence of the film with the apparently happy Wheeler couple having their daily breakfast together. She seems so old and wisened while he still seems satisfied to enjoy this make believe pretence of happiness. it is an unmatched pair of great zeal and timid acceptance.
What entails is, of course again, another cruel irony .You could watch for yourself.
Though she lives in the wrong time for herself, perhaps the time needs people like her to get some gumption back into living.