You don't get many laughs here and unlike Sam Mendes' superb "American Beauty" there aren't any layers or clever twists to keep your attention... just a depressingly bleak story about a couple watching their hopes & dreams disintegrate as the reality of the suburban life they're locked into hits home.
So worth the effort? Absolutely, for two reasons. Firstly, the acting is brilliant - Kate Winslet, quite rightly, wins huge praise for her portrayal of the frustrated and tormented wife but in many ways it's Leonardo DiCaprio who has the more difficult role as the confused husband and, despite unfair criticisms about his "boyish looks", he carries it off convincingly and equally superbly. Together, they're incredible - so good that they become wholly believable people trapped in a wholly believable marriage.
And, secondly, despite the one-dimensional story and the effort of watching it slowly unfold to a fairly predictable conclusion, this is powerful stuff: couples argue like this, lovers hurt each other like this, people destroy each other's dreams like this, and real life is like this... so much so that it's at times deeply uncomfortable viewing. Not much fun then but after getting through it all you won't forget it in a hurry and, on the way, you'll witness some of the best acting you've ever seen.