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American Beauty - Sexuality

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Asher Garside American Beauty - Sexuality In this essay I will be exploring how sexuality is expressed throughout the film, American Beauty. The characters I will be studying are Lester Burnham, his wife, Caroline, their daughter Jane, Angela Hayes and Col. Frank Fitts. On the surface of things, Lester and Caroline have a happy marriage, but like Lester says their marriage 'is just for show'. Caroline refuses to have sex with Lester which eventually leads to him forming a deep infatuation with his daughter's friend, Angela. Though Lester's obsession isn't with Angela as such, it is with what she represents; freedom and youth. Lester often hints at how he feels his life is a waste and wishes he was young again, "I flipped burgers all summer just to be able to buy an eight-track... it was great. ...read more.


When Caroline embarks on an affair with Buddy Kane, she tells him how 'I needed that... I was so stressed out." So she sees sex as just a way of relieving stress. Angela uses sex as a way of making herself seem more interesting and attractive to others, she shows this when she says 'If people I don't even know look at me and want to fuck me, it means I really have a shot at being a model.' This is a summary of Angela's reasons for using sex in this way. She lies about her sexual experiences to others to seem beautiful and sexy etc. Jane appreciates sex and sees is as a sacred thing that should just be between two people, as she tells Angela that she shouldn't tell her about every sexual encounter she has. ...read more.


Frank is openly suspicious of everyone around him, including his family for instance he makes Ricky do a drug test every six months. This suspicion is probably caused by living such a big lie. Ricky loves his father and tries to please him by pretending to agree with him about gay people, "Excuse me for speaking so bluntly sir. But those fags make me want to puke my fucking guts out." Franks secret sexuality eventually comes out when he tries to kiss Lester. This is a moment of madness for him, who only let his guard down for a second, he feels scared and desperate for letting this secret slip out, and ultimately, Frank's sexuality cumulates into the murder of Lester. Frank views sex as a sickening issue which needs to be suppressed and hidden. The film's tagline, look closer, is applicable in most of the characters views of sexuality, as it is not always what it seems. Word count: 767 ?? ?? ?? ?? ...read more.

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