Universal acclaim - based on 33 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 30 out of 33
  2. Negative: 0 out of 33
  1. A tart, funny and tremendously sobering movie about the deepest recesses of personal unhappiness.
  2. Reviewed by: Rod Dreher
    A flat-out masterpiece, surely the best movie of the year; indeed, an all-time classic.
  3. A wonder of a film -- a luminous, beautifully executed drama that gathers the best cast of the year -- the best American film of the year.
  4. Reviewed by: Mike Clark
    A singular accomplishment so specifically keyed to Spacey's talents that it mandates going out on a limb to say it contains the performance that will ultimately be regarded as "the one."
  5. Reviewed by: Jay Carr
    Spacey is diamond-brilliant in a role that plays as if custom-made for him.
  6. 100
    A movie that will endure.
  7. 100
    Spacey, an actor who embodies intelligence in his eyes and voice, is the right choice for Lester Burnham.
  8. A dynamite comedy-drama that, unless it stiffs big-time at the box office, should be up for multi-Oscar nominations come February.
  9. 100
    A triumph of acting, writing and directing that defies glib description...the kind of artful defiance that Hollywood is usually too timid to deliver: a jolting comedy that makes you laugh till it hurts.
  10. 100
    It gracefully defies the usual categories, gets under your skin in ways you cannot anticipate, then works its way straight toward the heart. It's far and away the bravest and best movie of the year.
  11. A dark comical masterpiece that single-handedly announces the collapse of the American family infrastructure as it exists on the brink of Y2K.
  12. 90
    Hilarious, slightly sick, and super-edgy ...the acting of its two principals, Annette Bening and Kevin Spacey, is so sublime that it's worth seeing on that grounds alone.
  13. A blood-chilling dark comedy with unexpected moments of both fury and warmth, a strange, brooding and very accomplished film that sets us back on our heels from its opening frames.
  14. Reviewed by: Janet Maslin
    If you don't share the film's piercing vision of what really matters, someday you will.
  15. Reviewed by: Todd McCarthy
    A script as fresh and distinctive as any produced in the States in recent memory.
  16. Hilarious, painful and brutally frank.
  17. A brilliant satirical diagnosis of what's most screwed up about life in this country, especially when it comes to sexual frustration and kiddie porn.
  18. 89
    A brilliant, exhilarating piece of filmmaking. It may even be the best mainstream film of the year thus far.
  19. I've got to admit it's a stunner.
  20. 88
    Remarkably astute and devastatingly funny.
  21. (Mendes') film debut shows he can shock not only with noise and nakedness but with subtle observations.
  22. You know you're in the hands of a true filmmaker when you feel invited, at every turn, to share his sense of entrancement. I got that feeling in just about every frame of American Beauty.
  23. 83
    Though excellent in many ways, American Beauty is, finally, an uneasy mix of assured technique and simplistic satire.
  24. 80
    Black comedy of the deepest, richest darkness laid over an aching meditation on the atrophy of dreams.
  25. 80
    Surprises you with a kind of hardheaded romanticism.
  26. Reviewed by: Richard Schickel
    Kevin Spacey (gives) a truly great performance.
  27. A ruthless dissection of suburban malaise.
  28. Mendes nonetheless works this screenplay like a jazz virtuoso plays with a familiar theme such as "Mary Had a Little Lamb."
  29. Reviewed by: Robert Horton
    If it is never really as profound as it seems to think it is, American Beauty is consistently entertaining, and it earns points simply for acknowledging that all may not be perfect in the current boom years.
  30. A satire whose dead aim stops wounding - and starts making - stereotypes of white middle-classness.
User Score

Universal acclaim- based on 497 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 10 out of 116
  1. SusanN.
    Jul 27, 2008
    A film I could watch over and over and never get tired of. A film to see before you die.
  2. Feb 13, 2012
    "American Beauty" is a masterful film. Kevin Spacey is at it's best and the film is filled with allegories and symbolism. A must watch.
  3. Mar 5, 2011
    This is the best film ever made.It's really incredible.

    There isn't other film that can complete with ''american beauty''. Ã