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Character Analysis – Ricky in American Beauty.

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CHARACTER ANALYSIS - RICKY Where is the beauty in a plastic bag, a deceased bird, a dead person? Strange questions you may think if you haven't seen the film American Beauty but it is one person's obsession with beauty that creates a fascination and a particular attraction towards it that makes it all comprehensible. Ricky Fitz, the new next door neighbour to the troubled Burnham family, adds a new dimension to their mundane lives, in some cases simplifying their situation and in other cases, complicating it. Ricky is generally a very interesting character that really captures an audience and entices them to look at life from another angle. He has a poor, harmful family relationship that he looks to escape from through change, a characteristic of all the characters in the film. He shares a sensual and physical relationship with the girl next door, Jane, whilst he also has a strong relationship with her father, Lester, a some what complacent and immature character. It is Ricky's vision of beauty though, that really makes him stand out and makes him so quizzical. Ricky is generally a very insightful person, curious and up front. ...read more.


Ricky is eighteen and yet his father still does not know how to act around him or hold a proper conversation with him. There is also no trust between father and son depicted by the scene when Ricky had supply a urine sample yet he deceived his father by giving him a false supply. It is like his father saw his role, solely to teach Ricky structure and discipline. When Ricky eventually leaves, although a touching moment, there is no real emotion shown, he was not sad to leave. Ricky found a rare and hidden beauty in Jane, the girl from the adjacent house. To the average person, Jane is portrayed as a confused, unattractive and depressed person. However Ricky sees a form of beauty that we can't, attracting the two toward each other. Jane is strangely comforted by the attention of being filmed by Ricky making her curious about what he found interest about her. She even believes that she is unattractive portrayed by her interested in plastic surgery. Ricky remains totally focussed on Jane. He sees that no other girl has this kind of beauty that she has represented by his filming when he avoids the stereotypical beauty in Angela and zooms in on Jane's reflection in the mirror. ...read more.


It is this misunderstanding that brings about Lester's death. Therefore it is arguable to say that the relationship had a positive and negative effect for Lester. Ricky does not see beauty in a rose, perfection, or a slim blonde but in obscure, natural elements. He describes beauty as though "God is looking at you". The most beautiful thing he has ever filmed was a plastic bag, describing the electricity in it and that "this bag was just dancing with me". To us the bag is just swirling around in the air, but Ricky can see the beauty in the lovely transient movement of the bag. Earlier in the film Jane and Angela caught him filming a dead bird. To him this was another form of beauty as was Lester's dead body, with his head resting on the table, blood streaming from his head. It makes Ricky happy to think that Lester was now free and contented. It seems that the seductive beauty that Ricky sees is the only thing that is capable of making him drop his guard and show any sort of emotion. Teeming with tears, he explains, "Sometimes there is so much beauty in the world that I feel I can't take it." It is just evidence that beauty has such a great impact on people, even the most mentally strong. ...read more.

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