With 5 Oscars under it’s belt, American Beauty had a reputation which it successfully upheld in my eyes. During the 117 minutes of thought provoking direction, I found myself challenging the stereotypes that we have been convinced to live by.
The film begins with Lester Burnham (Kevin Spacey), taking out his his frustrations in what he calls his ‘Highlight of the day’. This sets the trend for the film as from this high point, things turn for the worse. We are then introduced to his wife, Carolyn (Annette Bening) who, on the outside, portrays a confident, rich, business women but is in actual fact a failing realtor. Their relationship, to everyone else, is perfect, but as the film unfolds we slowly unearth the truth about what is really going on in their world.
Early on in the film, we soon realise that Lester is hopelessly depressed with the way he is living until his daughter, Jane (Thora Birch) introduces him to her best friend, Angela Hayes (Mena Suvari). This small action breaks him free from his wife’s leash and ultimately is the beginning of the real meaning of the film.
The remaining important characters, Ricky Fitts (Wes Bentley), Col. Frank Fitts (Chris Cooper) and Buddy Kane (Peter Gallagher) are all introduced after not too long, all with certain stereotypes that you would expect from being introduced to the characters.
Throughout the film, all kinds of sterotypes are explored with most of them being what you would expect, to begin with. But as time progresses, the characters are slowly revealed for what they really are with some shocking results.
-A great film with eye opening results. By the end, you will find yourself asking the truth behind the American Dream.