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An entire life in one glance: a psychoanalytic reading of Revolutionary Road

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Abstract

This article, starting from an analysis of the film Revolutionary Road (2009; director, Sam Mendes), addresses the topic of conflictuality in relationships between couples, especially in those characterized by intense violence and a relational configuration of the sadomasochistic type. In particular, the film – in highlighting sequential moments in the couple’s life, from its formation through to its tragic conclusion – seems to strengthen the hypothesis that the specific quality of falling in love is a contributing factor in determining the dramatic unfolding of a couple’s relationship. The relationship is characterized by an experience of intense, erotic sensoriality, and by the nature of the unconscious fantasy underlying the bond between the couple that began with the moment of falling in love, a bond in which deep needs for fusion predominate. The presence of this neediness impedes a more adequate working through of the conflicts and the transition to more satisfying ways of relating.

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