User Score
8.7

Universal acclaim- based on 563 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 36 out of 563
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  1. 'garman
    Aug 13, 2009
    3
    Entertaining in the way of a freak show. As irresistible a view as an accident scene. Hollywood cynicism par excellence. I made it through the movie without losing my dinner, but nearly lost it watching them all gush in the ludicrously named "Behind the Scenes Featurette".
  2. chrisl
    Jun 5, 2009
    0
    A really awful overblown and pompous film with very poor directing extremely awkward dialogue, and terrible acting. Kevin Spacey in particular was really tight and bland in his role.
  3. MarshallM.
    Oct 30, 2005
    3
    I do not know why the critics liked it so much! sure, there's some decent acting, but the charaters are all bad people and they are hard to like. i DO agree with ken B., they're just trying to see how far they can go, pushing the limits is what gets u oscar nominations.
  4. KenB.
    Jul 7, 2004
    1
    I honestly think the real purpose of this movie was to push the limit of the acceptability of child pornography. Kevin Spacey doesn't lust after an 8 year old, that would be too shocking. But a 40+ year old man lusting after a 15 year old girl is wrong, at least in this country. I know tons of pro and amatuer critics loved this movie, but I just can't get past the child porn I honestly think the real purpose of this movie was to push the limit of the acceptability of child pornography. Kevin Spacey doesn't lust after an 8 year old, that would be too shocking. But a 40+ year old man lusting after a 15 year old girl is wrong, at least in this country. I know tons of pro and amatuer critics loved this movie, but I just can't get past the child porn issue to appreciate anything about this movie. If I could give it a negative 100 to balance out some of the tens, I would. Expand
  5. [Anonymous]
    Apr 17, 2004
    3
    The acting is completely pedestrian. Kevin Spacey is as good an actor as my next door neighbor. The philosophical ideas behind it are hardly deep or meaningful. There is nothing redeeming about it, and all of the characters are completely devoid of any qualities that make me care for them in any way. It was a totally average film. The only reason I give it a 3 is because the The acting is completely pedestrian. Kevin Spacey is as good an actor as my next door neighbor. The philosophical ideas behind it are hardly deep or meaningful. There is nothing redeeming about it, and all of the characters are completely devoid of any qualities that make me care for them in any way. It was a totally average film. The only reason I give it a 3 is because the cinematography was fairly well done. Not Hitchcock, Woody Allen or Bergman, but not bad either. Expand
  6. [Anonymous]
    Apr 17, 2004
    3
    The acting is completely pedestrian. Kevin Spacey is as good an actor as my next door neighbor. The philosophical ideas behind it are hardly deep or meaningful. There is nothing redeeming about it, and all of the characters are completely devoid of any qualities that make me care for them in any way. It was a totally average film. The only reason I give it a 3 is because the The acting is completely pedestrian. Kevin Spacey is as good an actor as my next door neighbor. The philosophical ideas behind it are hardly deep or meaningful. There is nothing redeeming about it, and all of the characters are completely devoid of any qualities that make me care for them in any way. It was a totally average film. The only reason I give it a 3 is because the cinematography was fairly well done. Not Hitchcock, Woody Allen or Bergman, but not bad either. Collapse
  7. AlesandroR.
    Oct 20, 2003
    1
    Self-conscious film about how bad it is to have a job and live in a country where bombs aren't falling on your head. Mainly, though, it's social points are all too obvious and hard to believe. With the partial exception of the main character, most of the film is like pointing at middle America and saying: "See, you're all screwed up." I laughed unintentionally a few times. Self-conscious film about how bad it is to have a job and live in a country where bombs aren't falling on your head. Mainly, though, it's social points are all too obvious and hard to believe. With the partial exception of the main character, most of the film is like pointing at middle America and saying: "See, you're all screwed up." I laughed unintentionally a few times. Reaks of Hollywood's social thinking. Expand
  8. MovieLover
    Nov 16, 2001
    0
    One of the most overrated and stupidest films I have ever seen. Nothing impresses me. They tried to make it look like a masterpiece. It didn't work at all.
  9. BillM.
    May 13, 2001
    3
    Brutally cynical story about a modern American middle class family. No redeeming qualities. If it wasn't for Spacey and Benning's exceptional acting I'd give it a zero.
  10. JohnM.
    Feb 9, 2001
    3
    Uses a lot of bad stereotypes and purposes that self gratifacation brings true happiness. Glorifies dishonesty and deceit.
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.