DreamWorks Distribution | Release Date: September 15, 1999
9.0
USER SCORE
Universal acclaim based on 828 Ratings
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Positive:
778
Mixed:
19
Negative:
31
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10
RyanSolomonMay 4, 2013
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.
4 of 4 users found this helpful40
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10
bladeagentFeb 24, 2014
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!
3 of 3 users found this helpful30
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9
drlowdonOct 30, 2014
From director Sam Mendes and Six Feet Under creator Alan Ball American Beauty follows the final days of Lester, a middle-class man whose marriage and life is on the rocks. Lester is not liked by his wife or daughter and is about to be sackedFrom director Sam Mendes and Six Feet Under creator Alan Ball American Beauty follows the final days of Lester, a middle-class man whose marriage and life is on the rocks. Lester is not liked by his wife or daughter and is about to be sacked from his job. As a result he decides to live his life exactly how he wants, to the further frustration of his family.

The film deservedly won five Academy Awards including best picture, best director and best actor. Writer Alan Ball delivers a clever and darkly humorous script much in the vein of the excellent Six Feet Under and the cast are uniformly brilliant, particularly Kevin Spacey in the lead role. American Beauty provides a fascinating insight into what might be going on behind the closed doors of seemingly normal suburban households and is certainly a movie worth seeing.
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2 of 2 users found this helpful20
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9
FranzHcriticJun 28, 2014
'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,'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. Expand
2 of 2 users found this helpful20
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10
imilhoferDec 23, 2013
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 anIs 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
2 of 2 users found this helpful20
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10
JekSpaceyMay 3, 2014
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
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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2 of 2 users found this helpful20
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10
VinceRocks123Jul 11, 2015
This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. Undeniable one of the best and last oscar winning motion pictures of the 20th century, "American Beauty" is a undeniable surrealist experimental film on life that continues to have people "look closer" at the iconic portrait of the modern american suburban family and their relationships.

A spectacular directorial debut by Sam Mendes, infused with a sharp and witty script by Alan Ball, matched by a pitch perfect performance of Kevin Spacey as the typical middle aged household father Lester Burnham, who feels like his life is already dead, left with a mid-life crisis involving an oppressive job, a cheating and nagging wife (Annette Bening) and a depressed and resentful daughter (Thora Birch). when Lester becomes infatuated with his daughters' friend Angela Hayes (Mena Suvari) she becomes his inspiration to break free from his bored life and seek a new life as a independent free-spirited sexually glorified happy-go lucky, resulting in his family to fall apart which also brings their neighbors (Wes Bentley and Chris Cooper) into a conflict that will take a turn for the worst, even though Lester will not even care anymore.

A magnificent and smart film that is half drama and half comedy, its a gem you'll have to see before you die, with spectacular cinematography by Conrad L Hall and a hypnotizing musical score the film is also one of the best CGI films ever made.

a certified classic not to be missed
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2 of 2 users found this helpful20
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10
ariel84Mar 4, 2014
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'si 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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1 of 1 users found this helpful10
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9
adamSv94Feb 25, 2013
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 andThis 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
1 of 1 users found this helpful10
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10
Freddie_LeeMay 3, 2014
"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
"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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1 of 1 users found this helpful10
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9
MrMovieBuffMay 31, 2015
I recently just revisited this movie, and I thought I just had to share my opinion. 'American Beauty' is a comedy-drama film directed by British director Sam Mendes in his directorial debut. Since then, he won an Oscar and went on to directI recently just revisited this movie, and I thought I just had to share my opinion. 'American Beauty' is a comedy-drama film directed by British director Sam Mendes in his directorial debut. Since then, he won an Oscar and went on to direct 'Road to Perdition' (2002) and 'Skyfall' (2012).

The movie focuses on a man named Lester (Kevin Spacey), who is going through an intense mid-life crisis. His materialistic wife Carolyn (Annette Benning), ignores him and treats objects like people and people like objects. His 16 year old daughter Jane (Thora Birch) is insecure and is saving up to get her breasts done, she also blames her insecurity on her parents.

Also, Lester's job is hanging on a thread, he feels as if he is unwanted and does not want to continue to work there.

The family also have new next door neighbors moving in, Colonel Frank Fitts (Chris Cooper) with his wife and son, Ricky Fitts (Wes Bentley).

One night, Lester reluctantly joins his wife to go see their daughter perform a cheer-leading routine at her high school. It's there that Lester sees something he truly desires, her name is Angela (Mena Suvari). Angela is a good friend of Jane's ironically, and Lester starts to imagine this young girl in many sexual scenarios. Who can blame him? He hasn't been intimate with his wife for god knows how long, and Angela's features including; blonde hair, blue eyes, and red lips are enough for Lester to lust over this young girl. Is it wrong for a man in his 40s to lust over a teenage girl who has no idea about his dirty fantasies? As long as he doesn't act upon it, then he isn't doing something illegal, but morally, it is wrong.

Meanwhile, Ricky seems to have a sort of fascination for Lester's daughter, Jane. Her natural looks and constant belief that she isn't beautiful makes him more attracted and obsessed with her.

Lester decides to change his life around, bossing around his wife and smoking pot and even bulking up to impress the young Angela. Angela, drugs and quitting his dead-end job are the solutions to ending his mid-life crisis.

'American Beauty' is a beautifully filmed picture, with gorgeous cinematography by the late Conrad L. Hall and sure-handed direction from then-first time director Sam Mendes is astonishing and it's no wonder why he won an Oscar for this.

The second half of this movie does get a little slow-paced, and it does drag. But this movie was a very warped experience with all of the emotional disconnection, and I was still gripped. This is one of the best movies of the 1990s, along with 'Schindler's List' (1993) and 'Goodfellas' (1990).
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1 of 1 users found this helpful10
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10
SusanN.Jul 27, 2008
A film I could watch over and over and never get tired of. A film to see before you die.
7 of 8 users found this helpful
10
Falcon9gxgcApr 24, 2011
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 decideThis 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
3 of 4 users found this helpful31
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10
YoursTrulyNov 12, 2012
Has it all. Even prepubescent nudity, which may not be a very good thing...but it has it.
3 of 4 users found this helpful31
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9
benido326May 8, 2012
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 seemsFor 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 Expand
2 of 3 users found this helpful21
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9
grandpajoe6191Feb 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.
4 of 7 users found this helpful43
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10
antoineMar 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
3 of 6 users found this helpful33
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10
jcarAug 28, 2010
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.
1 of 2 users found this helpful11
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9
Trev29Nov 30, 2013
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!
1 of 2 users found this helpful11
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8
DanielP.Sep 22, 2007
A brilliant film, that shows forbidden love and family destruction.
1 of 3 users found this helpful
10
PaxsterOct 18, 2010
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 filmI 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
1 of 3 users found this helpful12
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10
cameronmorewoodNov 5, 2012
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.
1 of 4 users found this helpful13
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10
Compi24Nov 28, 2012
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 youI 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
1 of 4 users found this helpful13
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10
HarryE.Jun 8, 2007
This film definitely is one of my all time favourites with such beautiful moments combined with great satire and sadness. Spacey and Bening are flawless.
0 of 1 users found this helpful
10
ThomasR.Apr 13, 2008
One of the best movies I've ever seen. Maybe it isn't everything the critics want in a movie, but it was everything I wanted.
0 of 1 users found this helpful
10
SebaD.Feb 2, 2006
Thanks God for the finest red wine, for the beautifull ladies and for let me see this movie. American Beauty. A clasic. One of the best films ever made. Bening terrific. If i wasn t seen The usual suspects, this film probably be the reason Thanks God for the finest red wine, for the beautifull ladies and for let me see this movie. American Beauty. A clasic. One of the best films ever made. Bening terrific. If i wasn t seen The usual suspects, this film probably be the reason of kevin Spacey bank account. Amazing, Spacey is amaizing. Expand
0 of 1 users found this helpful
9
MarkS.Jul 5, 2006
Bland says the Village Voice? Bland? Uh, yeah, right. If ya don't like it, fine, but that is one of the most inappropriate criticisms one could use for American Beauty. Strong, strong film and characters. Very strong.
0 of 1 users found this helpful
10
JakeB.Aug 9, 2006
A beautiful piece of work by first time director Sam Mendes. Easily one of the most accomplished film debuts in the history of cinema. The story centers around a man named Lester Burnham (the wonderful Oscar winning Kevin Spacey) a man who A beautiful piece of work by first time director Sam Mendes. Easily one of the most accomplished film debuts in the history of cinema. The story centers around a man named Lester Burnham (the wonderful Oscar winning Kevin Spacey) a man who has lost passion in his life. His wife Caroline (Annette Benning in an equally stunning performance) is a workaholic real estate agent. Both are frustrated with their marriage which is basically just for show. Sexually frustrated Lest lusts for one of his daughter's (Thora Birch) girlfriends,Anglea (Menna Suvari). This lust begins Lester's search for happiness in life, so he quits his job and begins to flip burgers just like when he was a kid. Caroline is very frustrated with the fact that she has to be the breadwinner of the family and has an affair. Meanwhile the boy next door, Ricky is videotaping the Burnhams the daughter Jane in particular. The two strike a chord with each other and begin a romantic relationship. Ricky's father, Frank is a homophobe who suspect Ricky is homosexual because he is spending some time with Lester, of course this is not true. All Ricky is doing is scoring Lester some drugs. As the story progresses Lester gets used to Angela, and Angela starts to warm up to Lester. There are some wonderfully, gut busting scenes involving razor sharp deliveries by both Benning and Spacey. Both give brilliant performances. Many film play the : SUBURBIA AINT SO PERFECT! card, this one gets it right. Overall: A+ Expand
0 of 1 users found this helpful
10
SB.Apr 22, 2007
American Beauty is my favourite film of all time, followed by Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and Mulhholand Drive. It is a near perfect movie. It's use of "cliche" is very deliberate. Each scene is flawlessly connected with the American Beauty is my favourite film of all time, followed by Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and Mulhholand Drive. It is a near perfect movie. It's use of "cliche" is very deliberate. Each scene is flawlessly connected with the underlying theme, symbolized in red. If you don't understand what I am talking about, you need to rewatch the movie. Then Alan Ball gives us Six Feet Under - Genius. Expand
0 of 1 users found this helpful
7
jojJan 7, 2010
I remember this movie coming out when I was younger, but knew I had no hopes of watching a film whose cover depicted little more than a woman's naval. That being said, it is perhaps all of the hype I've seen this film accumulate I remember this movie coming out when I was younger, but knew I had no hopes of watching a film whose cover depicted little more than a woman's naval. That being said, it is perhaps all of the hype I've seen this film accumulate over the years that caused me to be a litte underwhelmed by it. Now I'm not saying that the movie doesn't accomplish what it set out to do or all of the things that people tend to praise it for: it was meaningful, touching, unique and had wonderful character development. I'm actually quite glad I of the fact that I didn't see this as a child, as I would have likely gotten little more from it than a few images of the elusive female breasts. I did, however, find myself continuously picking out little nuisances that really took away from the whole experience. Of course I'm sure a lot of the things I found to be "wrong" weren't actually shortcomings in the film itself, but more just my own personal disatisfactions. I probably would have given it a 9 had I not had more time to reflect on it as a whole. I suppose what I'm trying to say is that you shouldn't go into this expecting an absolutely perfect movie, instead expect a poignant and often humorous story that has lost a bit of its relevance over the years. Expand
0 of 1 users found this helpful
9
EfrainCOct 23, 2006
Procrastinating film based in the empty life of an ordinary family and the existentialistic problem of life. An excellent point about the concept of beauty of life. (Pay attention around you!). Very good move with some moral contradictions. Procrastinating film based in the empty life of an ordinary family and the existentialistic problem of life. An excellent point about the concept of beauty of life. (Pay attention around you!). Very good move with some moral contradictions. I recommend it! Expand
0 of 1 users found this helpful
9
FelixQ.Jul 25, 2006
Kevin Spacey is a genius. The man is, without a doubt, one of our era's most under-appreciated talents. This movie plays it's quirks so well, and gleams with a polish that few movies ever achieve. It knows when to down-play, and Kevin Spacey is a genius. The man is, without a doubt, one of our era's most under-appreciated talents. This movie plays it's quirks so well, and gleams with a polish that few movies ever achieve. It knows when to down-play, and when to vamp. Few movies I've seen have pulled me in this well. It scandalized my grandmother, which just told me in advance I'd love it;) But it blended each of the elements it attempted so well, that there are no visible seams, and- to use one of my favorite phrases- grabs the niche and owns it. Expand
0 of 1 users found this helpful
10
HannahF.Oct 11, 2007
I am merely a young girl and am certainly not allowed to watch a movie like this one, but I fatefully came upon it, and was stunned. Never before had I seen a movie this thought-provoking or plainly beautiful. It is a daring movie you never I am merely a young girl and am certainly not allowed to watch a movie like this one, but I fatefully came upon it, and was stunned. Never before had I seen a movie this thought-provoking or plainly beautiful. It is a daring movie you never see, with its witty and realistic look at the "American Dream". Hearing a teenage boy speak of the world and all its splendor, I found myself crying and really pondering everything ever to happen in my life. A truly wonderful movie! Expand
0 of 1 users found this helpful
10
DandyPantsApr 23, 2007
Superb movie. Although it probably wouldn't have received a 10 if Spacey wasn't playing the lead. Easily the most convincing and memorable character / performance ever. It's clear that many of the "reviewers" of this movie Superb movie. Although it probably wouldn't have received a 10 if Spacey wasn't playing the lead. Easily the most convincing and memorable character / performance ever. It's clear that many of the "reviewers" of this movie didn't understand the underlying themes. Although family is a part of the movie, it is not the central theme. The portrayal of family life is incidental, and is only part of the bigger picture. One reviewer said that the movie relied on "rote cliche" and as pointed out by another reviewer, this is deliberate. Ultimately the film is about the desire to be free and the consequences of this desire in American culture. A culture that supposedly is based on freedom. Lester wants to be free from his career and his dominant wife. Carolyn wants to be free from her own meticulous nature and self-doubt. Jayney wants to be free from her parents. Ricky wants to be free from his Dad's expectations. Frank wants to be free to express his homosexuality. Angela wants to be free to be herself but for whatever reason plays a role instead. Despite living in the land of the free, every character experiences great difficulty in being who they want to be and the consequences for their desires are great. [***SPOILER***]Lester is eventually killed, Carolyn's marriage is ruined and her lover ends the relationship. Ricky is estranged from his father. Frank murders to keep his secret and so on. It is clear that one has to find a balance between the desire to be free and the social responsibilites that we live by. The movie concludes that happiness and beauty is not in the grandiose religious, familial and economic pressures of 'ordinary' life, but is found in the daily appreciation of the little things we ignore as we try to 'succeed'. We all want to be free, but the way we live doesn't allow us to be. Expand
0 of 1 users found this helpful
10
WesM.Jul 29, 2008
Some of the most diverse, enjoyable character-driven drama out there!
0 of 1 users found this helpful
10
AnkurM.Dec 16, 2009
A brilliant piece of cinema, very genuine, intense and grabs your attention easily. Kevin Spacy delivers an impeccable performence, Thora Birch is excellent. A film about just life, just like getting to know a family next door. The film has A brilliant piece of cinema, very genuine, intense and grabs your attention easily. Kevin Spacy delivers an impeccable performence, Thora Birch is excellent. A film about just life, just like getting to know a family next door. The film has a lot to offer, very fine drama. Expand
0 of 1 users found this helpful
10
BarryPFeb 1, 2009
I have never been so captivated by a film. I was totally mesmerized and I am lost for words. Incredible and it is instantly one of the best I have ever seen in my life. Words cannot properly describe how powerful this film is so if you I have never been so captivated by a film. I was totally mesmerized and I am lost for words. Incredible and it is instantly one of the best I have ever seen in my life. Words cannot properly describe how powerful this film is so if you haven't see it I suggest you do so. Wow. Expand
0 of 1 users found this helpful
10
MingVAug 11, 2009
The best a contemporary American drama can be.
0 of 1 users found this helpful
10
abak.Nov 27, 2005
A classic.
0 of 1 users found this helpful
10
MarcusD.Jan 25, 2006
Excellent movie. It's all about finding out what you want and not letting society dictate your attitude and life. Great performance by Kevin Spacey.
0 of 1 users found this helpful
10
JBAug 11, 2006
An excellent film about ordinary flawed people and their veiled but ever present search for greater meaning, with comedy served on the side.
0 of 1 users found this helpful
9
GraceB.Nov 3, 2007
This movie is going down as one of my all time faves. It's one of those stories that stick with you, that you don't forget about the second the movie's over. It's alot like Garden State with great detail in each and every This movie is going down as one of my all time faves. It's one of those stories that stick with you, that you don't forget about the second the movie's over. It's alot like Garden State with great detail in each and every character, and I'm sure that everyone can find a little of themselves in each one. Captivating film. Expand
0 of 1 users found this helpful
7
ChristopherJ.Mar 21, 2007
This movie had some uncomfortable twists, and I appreciated all of them. The tension was almost unbearable for me at times, but the releases were satisfying enough. When the husband throws a dinner plate across the room, I almost wet myself. This movie had some uncomfortable twists, and I appreciated all of them. The tension was almost unbearable for me at times, but the releases were satisfying enough. When the husband throws a dinner plate across the room, I almost wet myself. Some nudity parts and parental abuse parts could have been removed or toned down to improve the overall quality, but overall a fun film to watch. Expand
0 of 1 users found this helpful
10
PatrickD.Jun 29, 2007
Touching, beautiful and very original.
0 of 1 users found this helpful
10
RogelioGNov 13, 2009
I absolutely loved this movie! Very entertaining and dramatic. What ever message, if any, the director was trying to send, i don't care. The acting was great and so was the plot. A very watchable movie for mature audiences.
0 of 1 users found this helpful
9
mrtimmerz23Feb 15, 2011
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'tSuch 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. Expand
0 of 1 users found this helpful01
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10
BonesMay 25, 2011
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.
0 of 1 users found this helpful01
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10
CalvinPJun 17, 2011
this is a very good one, very nice and interesting story, and the end is incredible.
highly recommended
0 of 1 users found this helpful01
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9
HankChinaskiSep 26, 2011
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.
0 of 1 users found this helpful01
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8
MetallicCriticDec 14, 2011
This review contains spoilers, click expand to view.
0 of 1 users found this helpful01
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10
TTW107Apr 21, 2012
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."
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7
csw12Mar 31, 2012
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.
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10
cmrcool72Aug 25, 2012
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 aThe 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
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9
LanaDelReyMar 23, 2013
A Film I Could Never Get Tired Of! The Score Of This Movie Is The Best I'v Heard In Years!
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9
BunnySep 7, 2015
A wonderful film that changed the way I looked at movies. "American Beauty" is smart, funny, unexpected and insightful. Wonderful performances, eerie soundtrack, amazing script and a compelling storytelling that turns the ordinary intoA wonderful film that changed the way I looked at movies. "American Beauty" is smart, funny, unexpected and insightful. Wonderful performances, eerie soundtrack, amazing script and a compelling storytelling that turns the ordinary into something special. Look Closer. Expand
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9
beingryanjudeApr 23, 2015
The extent of this film's brilliance is quite overwhelming. You have a film centered on mid-life crisis--mixed with incredibly dark humor, irony and symbolism. American Beauty begins as a slow burn and quickly ignites into a thrilling andThe extent of this film's brilliance is quite overwhelming. You have a film centered on mid-life crisis--mixed with incredibly dark humor, irony and symbolism. American Beauty begins as a slow burn and quickly ignites into a thrilling and deep look at society and relationships. Expand
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9
SpangleAug 13, 2014
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 isAmerican 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
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10
zied12Mar 2, 2013
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.
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9
SwatiSep 21, 2013
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 takingFunny, 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. Expand
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10
TheWalrus2000Mar 10, 2013
One of the most memorable films ever, Sam Mendes strong direction and Spacey's beautiful performance lead this unforgettable film to the top.
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9
survivorfan989Jun 17, 2013
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 weIt 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
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10
AcetoBalsamicoFeb 7, 2013
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 dalSono 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.. Expand
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10
Fall_GuyJul 4, 2013
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 exploresThis 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. Expand
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10
YorkshiremanJun 24, 2013
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 thisVery 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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10
MovieGuysMay 30, 2016
It's astounding that American Beauty was Sam Mendes's directorial debut; it is a film of awe and wonder, and is the kind of film you would expect from a seasoned director who knows how to incrporate complex themes and imagery into his/herIt's astounding that American Beauty was Sam Mendes's directorial debut; it is a film of awe and wonder, and is the kind of film you would expect from a seasoned director who knows how to incrporate complex themes and imagery into his/her movies. Nonetheless, it is an amazing picture about how not to judge a book by its cover, because the inside might be nasty and problematic. Its gorgeous cinematography, excellent acting, and superb direction earn its Best Picture Oscar. Expand
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10
Potarto72Dec 21, 2014
American Beauty is not only funny and immersing, but offers a new spin on film. It graduates analysis and meaning to the next level. It doesn't hide it's sappy feel-good messages behind "deep metaphors", instead it just lets you have them,American Beauty is not only funny and immersing, but offers a new spin on film. It graduates analysis and meaning to the next level. It doesn't hide it's sappy feel-good messages behind "deep metaphors", instead it just lets you have them, and take them in the direction you please. The acts of rebellion and production of art accompanying pure happiness throughout American Beauty make it absolutely thrilling to watch, over and over again. It really lives up to its name. Expand
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8
heeldavidMay 5, 2014
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
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10
JKN145May 3, 2014
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 andIt 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. Expand
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9
CPD98Nov 8, 2014
Gran película, con uno de los guiones mas originales que he visto y, posiblemente, Kevin Spacey haciendo su mejor y mas memorable papel. Es una de esas películas que no dejan indiferentes, que hay que ver una vez antes de morir.
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10
cdrennanApr 18, 2015
Sam Mendes accurately expresses the complex, yet simplistic life of the typical American family. His use of subtle lighting and luring music paint the picture of normality and even the mundaneness of the middle class. Bold reds andSam Mendes accurately expresses the complex, yet simplistic life of the typical American family. His use of subtle lighting and luring music paint the picture of normality and even the mundaneness of the middle class. Bold reds and slow-motion shots break through the cracks to show the turmoil hidden behind the fluff of those red roses.
It is the ultimate American contradiction of wishing to be protected and yearning to be free at the same time. This is shown through the lives of the Burnham family: Lester with all his hopes banked in the past, his daughter Jane grasping for the future, and the perfect materialized wife in Carolyn. They are each trapped by the roles society has forced upon them or that they have forced on themselves. Mendes asks, is it possible to have the comfort of safety and also maintain the thrill of freedom?
Maybe the fault some find in "American Beauty" is that it does not answer any questions, but proposes many. It presents a story that is as complicated to the viewer as it is to the characters within it. It does not claim to have answers because it knows there are no clear-cut solutions in life.
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9
MovieManiac83Apr 25, 2015
Over the years, many films have taken a dark look at the supposedly perfect ideal of a white picket fence, a little house, and a nuclear family. For many, the suburban life is the American dream. For others, however, it can turn into aOver the years, many films have taken a dark look at the supposedly perfect ideal of a white picket fence, a little house, and a nuclear family. For many, the suburban life is the American dream. For others, however, it can turn into a twisted nightmare of unfulfilled desires, repressed needs, and shattered hopes. Because of the necessity to keep up appearances, a serene facade often conceals a breeding ground for dysfunction, anxiety, and hypocrisy. Directors like David Lynch have made this their playground. Lynch in particular delights in depicting the root causes of social decay in suburbia - and he does it by autopsy. American Beauty is not as dark as a Lynch project, since it allows for small moments of redemption, but it mines the same general territory.

If there's a rule in American cinema that all families not named Brady must be dysfunctional, then American Beauty does nothing to violate it. Most teenagers think their parents are strange, but, in the case of Jane Burnham (Thora Birch, whose largest previous big screen role was in Alaska), this is as much a state of reality as it is a state of mind. Her father, Lester (Kevin Spacey), 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'm this gigantic loser," he confesses at one point, "And they're right. I have lost something. I didn't always feel this sedated." Meanwhile, Jane's mother, Carolyn (Annette Bening), places such value on status that she has turned into a "bloodless, money-grubbing freak" who has no time for any form of intimacy. Her creed: "You cannot count on anyone except yourself." She and Lester continue in their dead marriage for their daughter's sake and so they'll look normal to the outside world. In a moment of clarity, Lester admits, "Our marriage is just for show - a commercial for how normal we are, when we're anything but."

American Beauty is the first feature film directed by Sam Mendes, who has an extensive background in theater, but displays a sureness that many veteran filmmakers are unable to match. At times evoking elements of Todd Solondz' controversial Happiness and Ang Lee's brilliant The Ice Storm, American Beauty weds compelling drama with black comedy. The movie is character-driven, but the three protagonists are so expertly developed that we are drawn to them for the entire two hour running time. Spacey, Bening, and Birch all give the kinds of top-notch performances that deserve (but do not always get) consideration at Oscar time. Spacey's Lester may be American Beauty's narrator, but, through a low-key portrayal that conveys all the angst and confusion of a particularly bad teenage experience, Birch makes Jane the film's emotional focal point.

If there's a weakness in American Beauty, it's in the way the story is structured. Spacey's voiceover narrative effectively kills a great deal of narrative tension when, during an opening scene, he reveals the film's ending. This approach is often forgivable if there's a compelling dramatic reason for it, but that isn't the case here. In fact, the use of the voiceover allows American Beauty to close with more exposition than is necessary. We don't need to be told, for example, that one of the film's points is that we should learn to savor every moment of life and to see all the hidden beauty the world has to offer.

Mendes and cinematographer Conrad L. Hall add some wonderful camera work, especially when it comes to close-ups. In most films, we rarely notice this kind of shot because it is used indiscriminately. However, in American Beauty, it serves the definite purpose of offering insight into a character's mindset. There are many close-ups in this film, and few (if any) are used for the banal purpose of varying shot selection. And Thomas Newman's dynamic, playful score compliments the picture's effective visual composition.

American Beauty doesn't trailblaze a path into hitherto untouched cinematic territory, but its presentation of vivid characters in interesting situations makes the story seem fresh. In part because it's not a complete downer and in part because it doesn't cheat the audience, American Beauty is emotionally satisfying. There's a sense of poignancy at the end, but also the feeling that we have been on an incredible trip through the lives and souls of three perfectly-realized characters. In a year that boasts few truly memorable motion pictures, Mendes can stake a claim alongside the likes of Kubrick and Egoyan as one whose cinematic vision both challenges and entertains.
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10
FlickFreaks83Dec 11, 2015
Over the years, many films have taken a dark look at the supposedly perfect ideal of a white picket fence, a little house, and a nuclear family. For many, the suburban life is the American dream. For others, however, it can turn into aOver the years, many films have taken a dark look at the supposedly perfect ideal of a white picket fence, a little house, and a nuclear family. For many, the suburban life is the American dream. For others, however, it can turn into a twisted nightmare of unfulfilled desires, repressed needs, and shattered hopes. Because of the necessity to keep up appearances, a serene facade often conceals a breeding ground for dysfunction, anxiety, and hypocrisy. Directors like David Lynch have made this their playground. Lynch in particular delights in depicting the root causes of social decay in suburbia - and he does it by autopsy. American Beauty is not as dark as a Lynch project, since it allows for small moments of redemption, but it mines the same general territory.

American Beauty is about the ways in which these characters grow, and the catalysts that break them out of their near-catatonic existences. It's also about the emotional paralysis that comes with age and security. We take refuge in routine, and, after a number of years, the thought of change becomes terrifying. Happiness, the goal of youth, is replaced by the desire for the artificial comfort that comes through the numbing sameness of repetition. Loveless marriages like Lester and Carolyn's exist because neither partner possesses the willingness to break the cycle. And the children they think they're protecting by staying together are often the biggest victims of their sham.

American Beauty is the first feature film directed by Sam Mendes, who has an extensive background in theater, but displays a sureness that many veteran filmmakers are unable to match. At times evoking elements of Todd Solondz' controversial Happiness and Ang Lee's brilliant The Ice Storm, American Beauty weds compelling drama with black comedy. The movie is character-driven, but the three protagonists are so expertly developed that we are drawn to them for the entire two hour running time. Spacey, Bening, and Birch all give the kinds of top-notch performances that deserve (but do not always get) consideration at Oscar time. Spacey's Lester may be American Beauty's narrator, but, through a low-key portrayal that conveys all the angst and confusion of a particularly bad teenage experience, Birch makes Jane the film's emotional focal point.

If there's a weakness in American Beauty, it's in the way the story is structured. Spacey's voiceover narrative effectively kills a great deal of narrative tension when, during an opening scene, he reveals the film's ending. This approach is often forgivable if there's a compelling dramatic reason for it, but that isn't the case here. In fact, the use of the voiceover allows American Beauty to close with more exposition than is necessary. We don't need to be told, for example, that one of the film's points is that we should learn to savor every moment of life and to see all the hidden beauty the world has to offer.

endes and cinematographer Conrad L. Hall add some wonderful camera work, especially when it comes to close-ups. In most films, we rarely notice this kind of shot because it is used indiscriminately. However, in American Beauty, it serves the definite purpose of offering insight into a character's mindset. There are many close-ups in this film, and few (if any) are used for the banal purpose of varying shot selection. And Thomas Newman's dynamic, playful score compliments the picture's effective visual composition.

American Beauty doesn't trailblaze a path into hitherto untouched cinematic territory, but its presentation of vivid characters in interesting situations makes the story seem fresh. In part because it's not a complete downer and in part because it doesn't cheat the audience, American Beauty is emotionally satisfying. There's a sense of poignancy at the end, but also the feeling that we have been on an incredible trip through the lives and souls of three perfectly-realized characters. In a year that boasts few truly memorable motion pictures, Mendes can stake a claim alongside the likes of Kubrick and Egoyan as one whose cinematic vision both challenges and entertains.
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9
MovieMasterEddyApr 7, 2016
An acerbic, darkly comic critique of how social conventions can lead people into false, sterile and emotionally stunted lives, "American Beauty" is a real American original.

The landscape of Ball’s story is the familiar one of small-town
An acerbic, darkly comic critique of how social conventions can lead people into false, sterile and emotionally stunted lives, "American Beauty" is a real American original.

The landscape of Ball’s story is the familiar one of small-town America, and the initial take on the subject is the equally familiar one of houses with white picket fences and perfectly manicured gardens providing deceptive facades for lives wracked by hostility, tension, noncommunication and perversity. Fortunately, this view is intended not as a revelation but as a given, a starting point for a subtle and acutely judged tale in which nearly every important character metamorphoses in an utterly unpredictable way.

Calmly observant narration by Lester Burnham (Kevin Spacey) informs at the outset that, in less than a year from the start of the story, he’ll be dead. “Of course, I don’t know that yet,” he quips as he and his family are trotted out. Lester is a self-described loser, having lost interest in his job at an advertising magazine as well as in any meaningful relationship with his beautiful, high-strung, real estate agent wife, Carolyn (Annette Bening), and sullen high school-age daughter, Jane (Thora Birch). Family life is a sham for all of them, and they deal with it in different ways: Lester admits it, Carolyn refuses to face it, and Jane is just waiting it out until she can fly the coop.

Threatened with dismissal from his job, hangdog Lester finds things begin changing for him when he becomes smitten by Jane’s best friend, Angela (Mena Suvari), a blond Lolita with sex on the brain. Exhilarated by the ludicrous prospect of seducing her, Lester begins obsessively pumping iron and fuels his youthful state of mind by smoking dope with a strange young man, Ricky Fitts (Wes Bentley), who has just moved into the house next door with his father (Chris Cooper), a recently retired Marine Corps colonel, and shut-down mother (Allison Janney).

Ricky frequently takes surreptitious video footage of Jane, and when she calls him on it, an unlikely but oddly convincing romantic friendship begins blossoming that finally gives Jane a release for her emotional frustration. Carolyn, for her part, seeks an outlet in the most conventional manner, lurching into a motel-room affair with the debonair “king” of local real estate, Buddy Kane (Peter Gallagher). Evidently the only well-adjusted and relatively happy people in the neighborhood are “Jim and Jim” (Scott Bakula and Sam Robards), a gay couple with whom Lester takes up jogging.

One of the film’s constant sources of delight and surprise is the way characters both hide and reveal their private interests, and how they are often perceived and misjudged by others. It is not giving away too much or going too far into the story’s many mysteries to say that Lester can approach serenity and even a state of grace despite his initial wormlike status; that Ricky confidently pursues a secret life in spite of close surveillance from his martinet father, who forces his son to submit to regular urine tests for drug use; that Carolyn’s materialist preoccupation has, in fact, become her substance, and that Jane’s amorphous personality is susceptible to being shaped in just about any direction by the first strong personality she meets.

Consistently provocative and devilishly amusing through the first hour, pic clicks into high gear midway when Lester and Carolyn finally have it out. They don’t declare war, exactly, but Lester decides to let down any pretense to responsibility or normalcy in order to do his own thing as he did when he was 20, carefree and full of expectation. Blackmailing his boss for a big severance package, he hilariously takes a gig at the job at which he was always happiest, flipping burgers at a fast-food restaurant, buys his dream car and openly smokes weed whenever he wants. His new freewheeling approach to life makes him giddy, so much so that he believes he and his wife can revive their long-buried sexual relationship. But Carolyn and Jane are appalled at his breezy, tell-it-like-it-is attitude, fomenting a mood of anxious melodrama leading to the event promised by the opening narration.

Mendes, the hottest young British theater director of recent years, on the basis of “Cabaret” and “The Blue Room,” displays a very sure hand in his first film. As precise and controlled in its effects as his legit work, “American Beauty” is stylized in its images and humor, and Mendes has been exceedingly fortunate in working with a cinematographer as skillful as vet Conrad L. Hall, who is unsurpassed in his ability to augment the meaning of the material he films by finding its perfect visual correlative.

Naomi Shohan’s production design and Julie Weiss’ costumes enhance the film’s look of designed reality, while Thomas Newman’s score and the many adroitly chosen song snippets often create ironic counterpoint to the exceptionally tart and entertaining proceedings.
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9
TheArchetypesSep 9, 2016
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 anIs 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
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10
alejandro970Feb 21, 2017
The bittersweet, disenchanted portait of the american way of life in suburbia. Outstanding Kevin Spacey as the family guy in crisis looking for his second air. Smashing OST.
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