American Beauty

American Beauty Image
Metascore
86

Universal acclaim - based on 33 Critics What's this?

User Score
8.9

Universal acclaim- based on 824 Ratings

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  • Starring: ,
  • Summary: Provoked by forbidden passions, Lester Burnham (Spacey) decides to make a few changes in his rut of a life, changes that are less midlife crisis than adolescence reborn. The freer he gets, the happier he gets, which is even more maddening to his wife, Carolyn (Bening), and daughter JaneProvoked by forbidden passions, Lester Burnham (Spacey) decides to make a few changes in his rut of a life, changes that are less midlife crisis than adolescence reborn. The freer he gets, the happier he gets, which is even more maddening to his wife, Carolyn (Bening), and daughter Jane (Birch) --especially when he turns his lustful gaze toward Jane's friend, the sultry Angela (Suvari). (Dreamworks SKG) Expand

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Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 30 out of 33
  2. Negative: 0 out of 33
  1. New York Post
    Reviewed by: Rod Dreher
    100
    A flat-out masterpiece, surely the best movie of the year; indeed, an all-time classic.
  2. Reviewed by: Jay Carr
    100
    Spacey is diamond-brilliant in a role that plays as if custom-made for him.
  3. 100
    Spacey, an actor who embodies intelligence in his eyes and voice, is the right choice for Lester Burnham.
  4. 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.
  5. Chicago Tribune
    Reviewed by: Michael Wilmington
    88
    I've got to admit it's a stunner.
  6. 80
    Surprises you with a kind of hardheaded romanticism.
  7. In the end, the film lacks the skill of its actors and ends up feeling disjointed and confused about its own message.

See all 33 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Negative: 10 out of 129
  1. SusanN.
    Jul 27, 2008
    10
    A film I could watch over and over and never get tired of. A film to see before you die.
  2. 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 aboutThis 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
  3. JakeB.
    Aug 9, 2006
    10
    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 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
  4. 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 thingi 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.
    Expand
  5. 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!
  6. 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 wasThis 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
  7. 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 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. Expand

See all 129 User Reviews

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