Richard Yates brought to his fiction not only a sense of drama but a cold eye for the self-dramatizing impulses of his unhappy characters. This adaptation of his classic 1961 novel about disappointment and delusion in the Connecticut suburbs fully exploits the drama, with scenes, dialogue, and even key visuals pulled from the text. The self-dramatization is harder to capture, sometimes coming off as false moments between the actors, yet this is still a troubling story of two good people who can't live with the truth that they're as ordinary as their neighbors. Kate Winslet shines as April Wheeler, who hatches a scheme to move herself and her family to Paris; Leonardo DiCaprio is good as Frank, her brash but insecure husband, though a skilled comic actor might have brought more to the role. Sam Mendes (American Beauty
) directed; with Kathy Bates as the local real estate agent and Michael Shannon in a knockout turn as her deranged son.