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Media studies: film & broadcast fiction: American beauty

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Media studies: film & broadcast fiction: American beauty "Characters are central to American beauty." In this essay, I will be discussing this statement, demonstrating how the characters are established and how they develop. The first character that I will be discussing and analysing is Kevin spacey (Lester Burnham). In this movie, we are introduced to Lester at the very beginning, where he as a narrator tells us he is going to die. Lester is a 42 year old man who is suffering through a mid-life crisis. At the age of 42, he has become apathetic to everything. "Both my wife and daughter think I am a gigantic loser" this being the first few words Lester says about himself gives us the viewers a primary image of the way Lester and his family see him. This is shown more clearly to us in the early scene of the movie when Lester's wife, Annette bening (Carolyn Burnham) and their daughter, thora birch (Jane Burnham) where waiting outside in the car for Lester as they were running late. ...read more.


This also is shown when her self and Lester were sleeping in the bedroom and Lester being so sexually depressed starts to give himself a hand job, and Carolyn wakes up realising what he was doing and it turns into and argument, then she says dominantly " I can divorce you anytime mr". This tells us that their marriage is falling apart and Carolyn doesn't really care much about it, in stead focuses only on the material things of life. She and Lester continue their dead marriage for their daughter's sake. Lester's character grows even more through his awakening, epiphany. This awakening is prompted by two events. The first was meeting his next door neighbour Ricky fitts (Wes Bentley) at buddy kanes party. This was like a turning point for Lester, especially when Ricky asks him if he smokes dope and they both go outside to smoke. Ricky brought back Lester's youthfulness, and after this point, Lester started buying it regularly as if he was trying to relive his youthful days. The second awakening was when Carolyn and Lester went to Jane's cheerleading event in her high school to watch her, then Jane's best friend, Angela (mena suvari), an attractive teenager who captures his attention and arouses his sexual interest. ...read more.


While Lester is through a complete reconstruction of his personality an outlook on life, Carolyn's character is also changing. Frustrated by her relationship (or lack thereof) with her husband, she begins an affair with a fellow real estate agent buddy Kane (peter Gallagher). While her sexual liaison with buddy doesn't amount to much, it lessens Carolyn's tolerance for what she views as indolence on Lester's part. Her personality and character too changes. The affair with buddy Kane brings Carolyn back to life she is more outgoing and happy. Has more confident and like Lester, becomes carefree. She takes care of her self even more and physically looked better. Obviously her growth and change was introduced by the affair with buddy Kane. She turned from money grubbing uptight self-centred freak to a confident, happy carefree person. Then there's sullen Jane. Who's caught between the two of them. Displeased with her appearance, she is saving up for breast augmentation surgery (something she clearly doesn't need). As the film progresses, she develops an unusual relationship with Ricky fitts (Wes Bentley), the boy next door. He views life through a video camera, and when he first trains his lens on Jane, she is nonplused. After a while, however she feels flattered. ...read more.

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