I was very upset to find out the split of Kate Winslet and her partner Sam Mendes. To me, they resemble what we all want: love life, fame, wealth and family. That personal ambition and family life can go hand in hand. Now we find out the truth, that even Kate has been unhappy in her marriage.
What shocks everyone is that two highly successful, committed and intelligent people turn out not to be a good match for each other. They are not Katie Price and Peter Andre; not Tom Cruise. Nicole Kidman or Katie Holmes. They don’t get themselves involved in fleeting affairs or celebrity gossips. Anyone who is or was in a relationship will understand that the course of true love never did run smooth. As Hanif Kureishi said in his talk at Foyles the other day, some day we find ourselves loving someone intensely and hours later people quarrel and hate each other. But despite what knowledge or real-life experience taught us, we continuously try and fail to resolve how relationships fail, even when all the attributes of the individuals seem right, and that two people try hard to live up to the expectations of each other.
We cannot understand how Kate, a star actress with five Oscar nominations and one Best Actress Oscar behind her, could fail to make this work. We do not know why Sam Mendes, widely acclaimed as a director for highly cerebral films – American Beauty, The Road to Perdition, Away We Go, Revolutionary Road – says quit to a 7-year relationship with such a highly intellectual, charming and arguably one of the best actresses in Hollywood.
We missed in reality that success does not guarantee happiness. Success – if it means fame – brings more fame, and money, and often both. But it does not by default lead to happiness. A relationship or marriage works or fails to work solely because of the bond between two persons and their willingness to love and compromise. Attraction and magnetism help, but it is also an element of choice, a life decision, to continue loving and being with someone from day to day. I know nothing about their relationship and the rumours spread by online and offline media are but rumours, and their decision to split can be motivated by a number of reasons, but I can imagine the stress of making things work when both the husband and wife are so well-regarded in their achievements, when there is so much at stake for them in their lives.
For those who have watched Revolutionary Road directed by Sam Mendes (click here), they can see how good Kate’s performance is, playing the role of a distressed middle-class housewife. The role demands it, but for us all, it is sad to feel and remember that the anguish we once watched on the screen could be more deeply rooted than that. I remember watching the film (and also, to some extent, The Reader) and being shocked by the frustrations that seemed to well within her, and I don’t think it’s just the acting that demands it. There is something else that seemed almost forced and unnecessary in her expressions.
The split was announced a week after the Oscar night. They did not try to steal the show. It is far better to focus more on what they have achieved in life, than what they haven’t been able to make through. And who knows, perhaps they can find a more satisfying bond or happiness in the years to come?
Ref: what they said of each other and their relationship (click here).