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The beauty of American Beauty.

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The beauty of American Beauty A movie title is an important insight to what a movie is about. Sometimes it is taken from a catchphrase or a song, other times it represents the feel or the theme of the film. In most Hollywood movies today the title may be determined by focus group testing, the studio marketing department or other elements unrelated to the artistic vision of the filmmaker. American Beauty is not one of those films. Instead, the beauty may refer to the red roses Carolyn Burnham grows in her front garden, or the beauty Mena Suvari's Angela Hayes character represents to the protagonist Kevin Spacey's Lester Burnham, or possibly the happiness Wes Bentley's eccentric character Ricky Fitts sees in Lester's dead eyes at the end of the film. More likely it is all of those things collectively representing the beauty in American Beauty. American Beauty is influenced by many different genres; comedy, the family melodrama, a coming of age and ultimately the tragedy. With the infusion of so many elements it is a fantastic accomplishment that Sam Mendes, a first time film director from the U.K., was able to weave the half dozen or so complex characters into a tale that spoke so clearly to the American public, winning numerous Academy awards for best director, best original screenplay, best lead actor and of course best film. ...read more.


As Lester tries to break away from the person he no longer wants to be, Carolyn struggles to make the fa�ade of her life more impregnable. Her attraction to Buddy is not physical, but in her mind he is someone who has successfully constructed an image that conforms to the life Carolyn wants. Each new relationship in American Beauty brings the characters involved closer to the truth of who they are. The friendship between Thora Birch's Jane and Mena Suvari's Angela is based on lies. Jane feels like a misshapen outcast - inadequate in her own body. She contemplates breast surgery and worships Angela, who she sees as pretty and popular. Angela needs Jane to worship her. It is Angela's desire to be more than ordinary, and Jane's worship of her fullfils that need. Their friendship is doomed when Ricky Fitts enters the picture. To describe Ricky as sane would be a stretch, but more than any other character Ricky is in touch with his true self. He has had the time to think about who he is thanks to his father having him committed. Initially Jane, like Angela considers Ricky to be a freak, but it is his comfort at being a freak that Jane finds so attractive. ...read more.


She enjoys firing the gun because it is her only true release. The escape of her true self fired with each round. All she knows is that "she loves firing that gun." Her closest chance at reconciling with Lester and joining him on his ascent to self-awareness and enlightenment occurs when she comes back from the firing range and finds the Lester lounging on the couch after purchasing his dream, a 1970 cherry red Firebird. While Lester is ready to abandon their bickering for some long overdue sex, Carolyn can't help but stop him when she sees he is about to spill his beer on their Italian silk couch. The moment for their reconciliation is lost. The character that is never redeemed and will continue to suffer is the character most repressed - Colonel Frank Fitts. While Kevin Spacey's Lester Burnham may have died, he died happy. Col. Fitts will continue to suffer in his life and die unhappy. In most films the ideology may not be as clear nor the message as strong as in American Beauty. Having a strong theme in a badly written, acted or directed movie feels like the message is being shouted at the viewer. American Beauty weaves the ideology into a rich tapestry of visual motifs, a simple but superlative story and fantastic acting. ...read more.

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