American Beauty

American Beauty Image
Metascore
86

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

User Score
8.9

Universal acclaim- based on 819 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 127
  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. JB
    Aug 11, 2006
    10
    An excellent film about ordinary flawed people and their veiled but ever present search for greater meaning, with comedy served on the side.
  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. 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 andA 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! 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 127 User Reviews

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