Based on a novel by Richard Yates, this intensely wrought film takes us into the psyches and marriage of Frank and April. As the film progresses and we begin to see the conflicts in this marriage, the characacters’ names make more sense. Frank is the copywriter, an ad man who sees things in black and white. He is frank and open about his choices, April being one of them, sex with a secretary being another. She, on the other hand, sees life with many more colors and mixtures. Life is sometimes blurry to her and she longs to attack it and form it to suit her needs. That’s why she wants to leave their suburban home and move to Paris where she envisions she will work while Frank, her deserving man–this is the 50s–gets to discover himself. What is really going on here is that she will get to discover herself. She already has two children and that is not fulfilling her. April’s name must mean that she longs for a new chapter, a spring in her life. Yet April is the cruelest month, the poet said, and so her dream to go to Paris is thwarted by a pregnancy. She cannot bear to allow any of it to change her plans, so an abortion and excess bleeding takes her away permanently. This is her revolution in the 50s. This is the end of her road and Frank’s clearly outlined life.
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