Director Walter Salles’ adaption of Jack Kerouac’s 1957 cult classic novel, On The Road, follows the loyal Sal Paradise as he journeys with his charismatic friend Dean Moriarty, documenting their lives in hopes of writing his first novel. Having been released in the UK last month, the ultimate American road trip story will make you long for your own adventure, wearing beaten up Converse trainers and retro styled plastic framed sunglasses, whisking away new friends before dropping them as quickly as you found them whilst along your travels.
Brought to life on the silver screen, the tale stars Kristen Stewart as love interest Marylou. The sixteen-year-old wife, turned sometimes lover, of infamous promiscuous protagonist Dean Moriarty, plays an uncertain, yet essential role, as the only girl Dean will ever truly love. One of a kind, Marylou also immediately captures the attention of young hitchhiking writer Sal. The trio toy with each other’s emotions as they travel between states in various stolen vintage cars, leaving behind them many stories to tell.
Marylou’s spirited charm lures the viewer to echo her nonchalant style, whether it is in mint green candy stripes or an oversized flannel checked shirt borrowed from a lover. We first see her peering through tousled hair to demand “the occasional donut” whilst wearing only a crumpled mans shirt, and admire her the most whilst dancing wildly at a New Year’s Eve party in a fondant coloured blouse and monochrome jazz brogues, captivating the entire room.
Dressing up only once with a swipe of timeless red lipstick, Marylou’s appeal rests in her youthful, carefree attitude. Breaking away from the traditional groomed fashion of the era, Marylou’s haphazard style represents freedom and adventure. Teamed with her careless approach to life, we see her consistently overshadowing and outshining Dean’s second partner, the prim and proper despondent housewife Camille, who is played in the film by Kirsten Dunst
Set in the late 1940’s, On The Road was written about a time when America was experiencing an economic boom after the end of World War Two in 1945. However, this change in the economic situation had also led to high inflation. As a result, many unskilled workers were left poor, therefore heightening the appeal of life on the road, beating the system and living day by day as in Kerouac’s debaucherous work of fiction. Repeatedly quoting President Truman throughout the film, saying: “We have to cut down the cost of living”, Dean and Sal justify their unpredictable way of life, stealing petrol and food when necessary to fuel their appetite for exciting travels across America.
The story that inspired the Beat Generation of the 50’s, can now inspire you to dress in confectionary coloured shirts and high waisted shorts – endless road trips and multiple lovers are entirely optional, but a Marylou style free spirit and a mischievous grin across your face are absolutely essential. Released on DVD four days before Christmas, On The Road is an essential slice of escapism for anyone who would rather be starting their own adventure.
By Sophie Seymour.