User Score
8.6

Universal acclaim- based on 488 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 34 out of 488

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  1. Feb 13, 2012
    9
    "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.
  2. Mar 5, 2011
    10
    This is the best film ever made.It's really incredible.

    There isn't other film that can complete with ''american beauty''. Ã
  3. Oct 18, 2010
    10
    I love how the film captures the strangest of all locations: Surburbia. Many of us who live in surburbia can relate to this awkward black comedy which makes you realise we are all a bit crazy really. Possibly the strangest element of the film is the lust Kevin Spacey has for his daughters friend. Although incredibly disturbing its also seems to make you love the main character even more and that can't have been achieved without some hard work and dedication. Expand
  4. Aug 28, 2010
    10
    This movie is incredible. It will change your life in an undescribable way. Everything from the opening sequence to the last 5 minutes will leave you in awe.
  5. Apr 24, 2011
    10
    This movie is perfect, at least under the context I see it under. It was this film that inspired me to watch other movies and personally it's one of my favorite movies out there. There's better ones of coarse, but this one is the one I decide to hold on to, because of the impact it had when I saw it for the first time. It is a memorable piece, that runs deep and uses the color red to foreshadow the lives of our dear beloved protagonists. Expand
  6. Nov 30, 2013
    9
    A wonderfully unique and powerful film. The script is so sharp and the acting is nothing less than superb. It is enticing to watch and certainly leaves a lasting impression. A must see movie!
  7. Nov 5, 2012
    10
    American Beauty is a triumph of acting, writing, and directing. Writer Alan Ball and director Sam Mendes truly strike gold with this jaw-dropping, entrancing film. It's truly one of the best films I've ever seen.
  8. Nov 12, 2012
    10
    Has it all. Even prepubescent nudity, which may not be a very good thing...but it has it.
  9. Nov 28, 2012
    10
    I have never seen a movie that cogently blends together elements of a pragmatic social satire and a poignant domestic tragedy. Though, this is by far one of the most messed up films I have ever seen. . .it is also one of the best. When you have an incredible cast, an intelligent director, a brilliant screenplay, and amazing camerawork and music, all of these parts seem to fall into place and work cohesively to create a masterpiece.. Expand
  10. Feb 24, 2014
    10
    The acting is great, the lighting is beautiful, the writing is pitch-perfect and the music is hypnotizing. This was Sam Mendes' debut as a film director. The result is a masterpiece!
  11. May 3, 2014
    10
    "American Beauty" is not just a film, it is a poem that is told by the warm voice of Kevin Spacey, accompanied by a soundtrack intense and exciting and a photograph soft and impact.
    The director does not exceed in the unnecessary, rather it keeps on soft tones and soft, as well as the actors' tests, which are the most talented ever seen in a movie.
    A notion aside the merits Kevin Spacey,
    who in this film is shown not to be in no respect inferior to actors much discussed and overly praised by critics and the general public.
    The screenplay by Alan Ball is, as mentioned before, an intense poetry and reflective, that only the most sensitive will be able to fully comprehend.
    I absolutely recommend to everyone watching this masterpiece that can not miss in the collection of a true cinephile
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  12. Jan 7, 2011
    5
    It's an american not so beauty at all story. Nothing is really happen in this movie. The Kevin's character is a sick man. I don't understand why so many people like so much this movie
  13. Feb 15, 2011
    9
    Such a great film. The acting in it was superb and the casting for it was dead-on. The actors did their jobs 100%. Furthermore, the crew for that film did an amazing job. The writing was perfect and shots were incredible. Personally I don't have much to say about it negatively. I suppose sometimes it gets a little too melodramatic but the black humor more than makes up for it.
  14. May 25, 2011
    10
    Alan Ball's writing is genius, Kevin's acting is groundbreaking, Annette is funny, and the director is one of the best.
    long story short, the Oscars that were given to this movie were all deserved.
  15. Jun 17, 2011
    10
    this is a very good one, very nice and interesting story, and the end is incredible.
    highly recommended
  16. Sep 26, 2011
    9
    Not just a great, but an IMPORTANT movie.
    90% of people who hate it do so because they are painfully reminded of the fact that their safe, mediocre, success-driven middle-class lives look as dire as the protagonist's.
  17. Dec 14, 2011
    8
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view.
  18. Apr 21, 2012
    10
    A truly extraordinary dark drama/comedy. A movie that will make each and every one of us sit and appreciate life. "Sometimes there's so much beauty in the world, I feel like I can't take it, and my heart is just going to cave in."
  19. Mar 31, 2012
    7
    Amercian Beauty is a good film not great. It is a good movie thats shows forbidden love and family destruction. Kevin Spacey and the entire cast were great.
  20. May 8, 2012
    9
    For me the year 1999 has to be one of the best years in film. That was a year of some really interesting and intriguing films, films that include Fight Club, Being John Malkovich, The Sixth Sense, Star Wars Episode 1, and The Matrix. It seems that something happened to the filmmakers that year and they decided to make more risky and maybe more films that reflect the usual manâ
  21. Aug 13, 2014
    8
    American Beauty may be a tad overhyped, but it is very good all the same. Kevin Spacey is fantastic as is the rest of the cast. Everybody really embodies their character thanks to great casting all around. The direction from Sam Mendes is great and it is amazing to think that this was his debut. The script is very good. It is witty and dark at the same time. It is hard to place my finger on what the film is about. It is not overly complex, but there are so many things that are going on, that you cannot really say what this one is about in a sentence without leaving out a ton of information. But, I will try. Ultimately, to me, American Beauty is about life and the facade's we all put up around our lives to project an image of what we want we to be, rather than what we truly are. However, even in saying that, it leaves you a lot of the topics discussed, such as self-liberation, sexuality, and love. Yet, I think my simplistic sentence briefly covers all of those to some degree, as they all deal with pretending things are not what they are. In addition, I really love the title. There are so many different meanings behind "American Beauty", whether it be the roses that are shown throughout the film, Mena Suvari's character, the beauty of the American Dream, or many other things. The film is not overly complicated, but has so many different plausible interpretations that it a fun film to dissect. American Beauty is a truly great work that is fun to watch and fun to discuss thanks to great acting, direction, and writing. Expand
  22. Mar 2, 2013
    10
    this is truly american beauty when you watch a film like this, kevin spacey and annette bening own their roles very well, very good story and very good writing a must watch.
  23. Aug 25, 2012
    10
    The word classic is one thrown around the film industry too often these days, it is only when you watch a film such American Beauty that the true nature and prowess of inspirational filmmaking can be seen. The film to end all others in a sense that none could ever live up to its masterful performances, witty script and direction extra-ordinaire. A must-see, as many times as you can, it truly lives up to the name. Cherish it, films such as these can come just once in a lifetime Expand
  24. Sep 21, 2013
    9
    Funny, engaging and exhilarating. Kevin Spacey breathes life into his character and the movie itself. He deserves the Oscar. The first half was more than satisfactory. The second one got a bit bogged down before making a comeback and taking me by surprise. One of those movies that everyone should give a chance.
  25. Mar 10, 2013
    10
    One of the most memorable films ever, Sam Mendes strong direction and Spacey's beautiful performance lead this unforgettable film to the top.
  26. Jun 17, 2013
    9
    It had been a few years since I'd seen this movie but now that I'm older I really appreciated it a lot more and thoroughly enjoyed it. Top-notch acting and some stellar performances from the cast, as well as just having a great concept as we watch an all-American family fall apart as those in it start to do what they want with their lives. The final few scenes are really where it picks up for one heck of an ending, and overall it definitely deserved that Best Picture Oscar! Expand
  27. Mar 4, 2014
    10
    i rewatched this tonight for the first time sine '01. annette bening seemed too frantic and a little campy, the whole col. fitts thing glaringly obvious, and, of course, i knew the ending. that said, i still am astonished by it. wes bentley's rick is as moving. the much parodied plastic bag scene, overlaid with thomas newman's gorgeous score, ricky's love for all beauty in the world, and thora birch's tenderness for him reduced me to sobs as quickly as it did originally. i was even more struck by the reveal of who angela really was and lester's holding her as a father would, his scene with her in the kitchen is deeply revelatory and, yes, happy.
    annette bening grabbing his clothes, sobbing, is an image that has always stayed with me.

    it was film of it's time, but, it still works. as art, as filmmaking, as screenwriting, and as a master class in acting and cinematography. mena suvari on the rose filled ceiling, the petals fluttering down on lester's delighted face is as indelible an image as any in film.
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  28. Feb 7, 2013
    10
    Sono stato piacevolmente sorpreso da questo film. A tratti sconvolgente, con una sceneggiatura da premio oscar e infatti così stato A qualcuno potrebbe non piacere, ma un tentativo si può sempre fare nemmeno io ero così attratto dal film, e invece..
  29. Feb 25, 2013
    9
    This movie appeals to me in a way that I can't explain. I had never heard about this movie until I stumbled across it two years ago when I was doing some research on Kevin Spacey's acting career. I thought that I would give it a chance and when I watched it I was blown away. Everything about this movie, every little aspect, is great the acting, the sountrack, the screenplay, everything. It explores themes like sexuality, family and the superficial ideal that we all know to well, in a way that I consider to be nothing but flawless. I'm not saying that this is a movie for everyone (because it's definitely not) but I think it's a movie that everybody should see at least once in their life. It is a masterpiece and a classic that will live on forever. Expand
  30. Mar 23, 2013
    9
    A Film I Could Never Get Tired Of! The Score Of This Movie Is The Best I'v Heard In Years!
  31. May 4, 2013
    10
    One of the smartest, funniest, and most ironic movies I have ever seen. If I had never seen this movie, I probably wouldn't be the same person. This is by far one of the best films ever made, and one of my favorites.
  32. Jul 4, 2013
    10
    This is just one of those movies that transcends. You would think that a story that largely centers upon a middle aged guy fantasizing about his teenage daughter's best friend would be a sketchy, but the way the film so artfully explores modern notions of beauty, fulfillment, and what matters is truly remarkable. A spiritual experience, this movie will change your life.
  33. Jun 24, 2013
    10
    Very powerful film. Well done to Sam Mendes on his debut film. I love everything about this film, especially Kevin Spacey's performance as Lester Burnham and his fixation on his daughter's friend. There are so many fantastic things about this film. The cast, all brilliant and I believe Chris Cooper didn't get enough credit for his role as Col. Frank Fitts. The cinematography is very well done. The soundtrack is a stand out aspect of this film, just incredible.

    One of my favourite films, just brilliant.
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  34. Jun 28, 2014
    9
    'American Beauty' is a caricature of suburbia, depicting how the picture of what is a normal family is just a facade, just some idealistic opportunism that breaks the line of fantasy. The elements of this, added with the writing, direction, acting, and cinematography especially, 'American Beauty' sums up to be one roller coaster of several conflicting emotions.
  35. Dec 23, 2013
    10
    Is this the best film of the 90s? Quite possibly, as no other confuses and delights more than American Beauty. The subtle complexity of its original and brilliant screenplay, coupled with its sensitively fabricated representation makes for an outlook-altering experience. It doesn't matter how many times I watch American Beauty, I sense a new meaning each time and am never confident that I know what the film means or what it is trying to say. Of course, the enigmatic and darkly beautiful nature of the film is helped along by subtle, honest and terrific performances from Spacey and Bening, a mesmerising score and stunning direction, but underpinning this all is a witty, dark, optimistic, pessimistic, original and overwhelming screenplay that gives this film too many dimensions to wave matching gardening clogs at. Expand
  36. May 5, 2014
    8
    This Sam Mendes picture is very simple and intelligent, with very clever dialogue, direction and career best performances by Spacey, Bening, Birch and the supporting cast, American Beauty works perfectly and is one of the very best of the 90s
  37. May 3, 2014
    10
    It boasts all the depth and insight of a thought-provoking drama, and all the hilarity and irreverence of a great comedy. The acting is universally spectacular. American Beauty stands out because it takes a familiar setting and themes and spins them into something original.
  38. May 3, 2014
    10
    I do not usually base the size of a movie on the amount of awards won , and I do not want to do it even now , but we must recognize that awarded five Oscars for " American Beauty " , contrary to what many say , were richly deserved !
    The director is absolutely fantastic and innovative and you can almost feel . Sam Mendes, theater director , was able to start with a bang , giving us shots
    absolutely brilliant and perfectly designed to make the most of the character and the situations of each character. The staging is clearly theatrical , as well as the acting of all the actors. Among all it is, of course , distinguished wizards that Kevin Spacey ( who deservedly won the Oscar for best actor ) who gave us an interpretation absolutely magnificent and showed off her endless versatility. I have to say , though, that convinced me everything that the cast , including Peter Gallagher in the role of the rich man who steals wives there is perfect. But the highlight of the film is the script by Alan Ball, who in my opinion is one of the best ever written. He gave us two memorable monologues , such as that played by Wes Bentley during the dance scene of the envelope , and that played by Kevin Spacey in the final scene . Each of the two monologues are accompanied by the sublime soundtrack by Thomas Newman , who manages to make the scenes more sweet and harmonious .
    I really think that " American Beauty " is the perfect example of a movie . This is not to say that it is a film that should delight equally to all , it is always a matter of taste , but beyond saying that it is overrated and annoying anyone know how to criticize .
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Metascore
86

Universal acclaim - based on 33 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 30 out of 33
  2. Negative: 0 out of 33
  1. 83
    Though excellent in many ways, American Beauty is, finally, an uneasy mix of assured technique and simplistic satire.
  2. Reviewed by: Richard Schickel
    80
    Kevin Spacey (gives) a truly great performance.
  3. A ruthless dissection of suburban malaise.