Metascore
86

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

User Score
8.6

Universal acclaim- based on 499 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
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 30 out of 33
  2. Negative: 0 out of 33
  1. 100
    A triumph of acting, writing and directing that defies glib description...the kind of artful defiance that Hollywood is usually too timid to deliver: a jolting comedy that makes you laugh till it hurts.
  2. Reviewed by: Jay Carr
    100
    Spacey is diamond-brilliant in a role that plays as if custom-made for him.
  3. A tart, funny and tremendously sobering movie about the deepest recesses of personal unhappiness.
  4. A brilliant satirical diagnosis of what's most screwed up about life in this country, especially when it comes to sexual frustration and kiddie porn.
  5. (Mendes') film debut shows he can shock not only with noise and nakedness but with subtle observations.
  6. 80
    Surprises you with a kind of hardheaded romanticism.
  7. Reviewed by: Ann-Rebecca Laschever
    40
    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 117
  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. 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 asVery 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.
    Collapse
  3. SB.
    Apr 22, 2007
    10
    American Beauty is my favourite film of all time, followed by Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and Mulhholand Drive. It is a near 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
  4. 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 blackI 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
  5. 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,
    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.
    Expand
  6. Nov 8, 2014
    9
    Gran película, con uno de los guiones mas originales que he visto y, posiblemente, Kevin Spacey haciendo su mejor y mas memorable papel. EsGran 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. 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 117 User Reviews

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