Write descriptive essay about American Beauty movie 1999, write an essay of at least 500 words on American Beauty, 5 paragraph essay on American Beauty, definition essay, descriptive essay, dichotomy essay.
American Beauty
Year:
1999
Country:
USA
Genre:
Drama, Romance
IMDB rating:
8.4
Director:
Sam Mendes
Kevin Spacey as Lester Burnham
Annette Bening as Carolyn Burnham
Thora Birch as Jane Burnham
Wes Bentley as Ricky Fitts
Mena Suvari as Angela Hayes
Chris Cooper as Col. Frank Fitts, USMC
Peter Gallagher as Buddy Kane
Allison Janney as Barbara Fitts
Scott Bakula as Jim Olmeyer
Sam Robards as Jim Berkley
Barry Del Sherman as Brad Dupree
Ara Celi as Sale House Woman #1
John Cho as Sale House Man #1
Fort Atkinson as Sale House Man #2
Storyline: Lester and Carolyn Burnham are, on the outside, a perfect husband and wife in a perfect house in a perfect neighborhood. But inside, Lester is slipping deeper and deeper into a hopeless depression. He finally snaps when he becomes infatuated with one of his daughter's friends. Meanwhile, his daughter Jane is developing a happy friendship with a shy boy-next-door named Ricky, who lives with an abusive father.
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Reviews
I apoligize...
I am the lone soldier who didn't like this movie....and it had all the makings of something I'd really love. Perhaps if I'd watched it alone...but watching it with others made me feel a little uncomfortable. Why...I don't know. Possibly because the movie opened with a guy jerking it in the shower. I'm not a prude by any means...but honestly this movie was just a little weird for me. Call me uncultured, lacking in taste...I really don't care. The movie wasn't awful or anything....it just made me squirm.
2003-11-22
Such a beautiful gem of a movie
I am writing this review for American Beauty after the third time in three weeks that I have watched it and it grows on me each time I watch it. The first time I watched it, I thought maybe this movie is more of a comedy than a drama but after watching it today, I can say this is definitely a drama with some funny moments in it which is what I want from a drama rather than it taking itself too seriously. Kevin Spacey, who is simply brilliant stars as Lester Burnham , a sexually frustrated, average American husband/father who is undergoing a mid-life crisis as he hates his job and his relationships with his wife Carolyn (played superbly by Annette Bening) and daughter Jane (Thora Birch) are strained due to a number of reasons, one being that he becomes attracted to his daughter's best friend, Angela Hayes (Mena Suvari). Add to that, the arrival of their new neighbours, the Fits, Frank (Chris Cooper), Ricky (Wes Bentley) and Barbara (Allison Janney) who seem to have problems of their own. All of these intertwining story lines, acting, music, directing and the script make this movie, in my opinion, an underrated classic of the 1990's which churned out some great movies and what a way to end the decade with a fantastic movie such as this. Hard for me to find a negative with this movie but positives from the movie are the storyline, the beautiful music and score of the movie, directing and of course, the cast of the movie which won the SAG Best Ensemble Award. With the cast, everyone knew their roles in the movie and played them accordingly, Kevin Spacey as the lovable loser, Annette Bening as the ambitious and materialistic wife, Thora Birch as the self esteem-less daughter and in one of her first big roles, Wes Bentley as Ricky, the likable next door neighbour who loves his camcorder and Jane's friend, Chris Cooper as Col Fits, a homophobic, strict disciplinarian father, Allison Janney as the silent wife, Mena Suvari as the egotistical best friend and even Peter Gallagher as Carolyn's real estate rival, Buddy Kane. This film deserved it's Oscar's for Best Picture, Best Director (Sam Mendes), Best Original Screenplay and Best Cinematography as well as the other nominations including Best Actress-Annette Bening but in saying that, I thought the acting standouts besides the two leads could have been nominated as well including Best Supporting Actress- Thora Birch or Best Supporting Actor- Chris Cooper who put in one of the performances of the year 1999 and has stuck with me ever since or Wes Bentley; either one, take your pick, they were both great.
2014-12-15
Ugly, U.S.A.
I've seen this one a few times before, and I never liked it as much as I did the first time; that probably had something to do with certain positive circumstances I can't go into here. In any case, 'American Beauty' has a couple of fine scenes that always greatly amuse me. You know, Angela's dance, the dance of the plastic bag and Jane and Ricky's intimate moments for instance.

At many other moments, though, I wish Sam Mendez had toned it down considerably. Now it feels much like an over-stylized pastiche of concentrated misery with too many angles (i.e. characters). A lot of dialogue (and monologue) feels too contrived, as does the whole story - though some of it works really well, I must add. So I can't say that it's a bad film, but for a black comedy it isn't always sharp and funny enough and for a drama it doesn't go deep enough, mainly because it has too many things going on.

And then there is Kevin Spacey. I love him in films such as 'Se7en' or 'The Usual Suspects' where he plays no less than iconic bad guys, but here there are only bits and pieces that really convince me. Most other actors are quite convincing, like Gary Cooper, but his role of homophobic, militaristic (helpless) husband and father is one of those 'things' that feel so overly contrived - though, again, there is a lot of potential.

6 out of 10.
2013-11-21
Beautiful...so beautiful
American Beauty is the greatest movie ever made.

If you haven't already, watch American Beauty by yourself and give yourself some time afterwards to think it over. You will never, ever look at life the same way. It does exactly what movies are meant to do - give us a window into ourselves, and American Beauty does that better than any other film has ever done. No word of dialogue is unnecessary, no character exaggerated, everything is perfect...but if you have seen American Beauty you should know that already. Once you look closer at this movie, and see Beauty in every frame, it becomes so much easier to look closer and see Beauty in everything around you. You think I'm waxing poetic? Then you must not have seen the movie. Every character is a part of each of us: the Lester Burnham of change, the Carolyn of uncertainty and failure, the rebellion of Jane, the defeated Barbara, the false control of Angela and the Colonel, and the real control of Ricky. To me Ricky, not Lester, is the center of this story; he somehow controls or sets in motion the heart of Lester's rebirth and downfall. There are several parts of this movie where I lose control every time I see it, and none more so than the paper bag scene. To me that scene is simply the greatest monologue ever written.

I listened to the message of American Beauty - look closely and you can find Beauty in anything - and it changed my life. I rose out of a long, deep depression and started out into the world. Sometimes there is so much Beauty in the world, I can't even stand it, and it feels like my heart is going to burst.

This is the most beautiful movie I have ever seen.
2000-09-09
America the Not-so-beautiful
Lester Burnham was born when Jung said the world changed. Lester was a young boy with our very own favorite memory (lying on the grass looking at clouds). He fell in love with Carolyn when she still had joy in her. But he got a job he hated to support a family inside a box with a white picket cage around it, a world where you can make money to buy stuff you don't need but you can't buy stuff to make you feel alive because it is not "sensible" (the red Firebird). Gender relations had turned upside down: his wife dominated him to where Less-stir stirred less. He literally sat in the back seat. Family broke apart: his daughter wished her parents could "get a life of their own." Computers proliferated: profits, losses, and suckers ran glowingly across Lester's face for 17 years. His boss was not a leader or a mentor: his boss was a Brad. With human leadership assassinated, corporate tentacles extended everywhere. Homosexuality became open—to some—scary, to others. Drugs earned a secure place in the culture: Lester gave up drugs maybe too soon and now the kids were into them, making it convenient to have a peddler next door. That's the setup.

Lester's libido got tickled by an inappropriate target: a young girl. He spoke back to his wife who mocked him in bed. That made him smile. He smoked with a young boy who was falling in love with his own daughter. He pounded a brad back into Brad when Brad asked him to write his own death warrant in a corporate reorganization. He quit: he quit to get alive for at least a moment before he was to die. He started working out. This was tragically mis-read by the guy next door. It's Col. Fitz who is the tragic one, not Lester. Lester dies with a smile on his face after he realizes he "feels great," that his daughter loves a sweet boy, that he doesn't care who is wife is f----ing. He becomes a father to the girl after whom he lusted: he wraps her in a protective blanket to set her free. He lets her be who she really is rather than who she thought she was supposed to be. They both grow up.

It's not a spoiler to say here that Lester dies: that's the first thing he tells us. You can't really die until you are alive—so the rest of the movie raises Lester from the deadened life he'd been trained to live. He—and hence we—look at life from above. We learn to smile with him: particularly when he delivers the sack of burgers. We see the perfect life is antiseptic white with vased slashes of reds, the way Carolyn would have it, or reds could fall like snow, the way fantasy has it, or the reds could be messy, messy, the way life has 'em.

Life messes up organization if we try to force ourselves into the back seat.
2014-12-09
Something much more than I expected
Whether you like it or not, you always watch a movie with an expectation. I didn't know much about this movie, and expected a sleazy and cheap flick about a horny old man. I have to say - I got a lot more than I asked for. I got a movie so filled with life lessons, so rich in so many ways, that I think it spoke to me. I loved the characters in this movie. The one that sees all the beauty in the world. The frustrated middle-aged man that is not happy with his life. The tough guy that does not know how to handle the social situations and problems he and his family is facing. I loved the music. I loved how it told such an important story with at times comedic means. Although I might have preferred a different ending, it still felt right.

I don't know if you will like it. You might well hate it. It probably depends on your expectations. I know one thing for sure, though: This movie is the work of spectacular minds. It is a movie for people that like to think. And if you did not think before you started it, I bet you will when you are finished.
2012-03-02
Close To Perfection
The intention is so clear that everything else falls into place, perfectly. Kevin Spacey's suburban husband and father reminded me of his character in "The Ref" and that could only be a good thing. Annette Bening and her giggle works wonders here. Their marriage is a tabloid version of a "Who's Afraid To Virginia Woolf" Which means very close to someone we know. The biggest surprises in the film. besides the amazing dexterity of Sam Mendes at his first outing behind the camera, are West Bentley. Chris Cooper, Thora Brch and Allison Janney. As I'm writing this 8 years after its first release, the Oscars and the whole hullabaloo, I'm very surprised that West Bentley hasn't become a major star. He is amazing in "American Beauty" the complexities of his character are based on recognizable human stands, the hardest to face up to and I went where he went. Thora Birch is lovely as the object of his attention and the film, I believe, is here to say.
2007-11-12
A beautiful movie
I saw a sneak preview of American Beauty recently and all I can say is that I intend to see it again. This is a WONDERFUL movie that is worth the money to see in the theaters (the only movie I've been to where half the audience broke into applause during the film). Kevin Spacey plays Lester, a man who, while going through a mid-life crisis, begins to lust after a teenage friend of his daughter's. Spacey is, of course, a fabulous actor and really shines in this role. There are a few interwoven story lines involving Spacey's relationship with his control freak wife (Annette Bening, who is good if a little bit over the top in this role) and daughter, and the family next door, which includes a military general father, a mother who is apparently clinically depressed, and a very interesting son who is obsessed with filming beautiful things (including Lester's daughter Jane). What is unusual about this movie is that the plot is not unusual or particularly unique--it's a couple of families in an anonymous American suburb and how they relate--but the filming of the movie is absolutely beautiful, and is done in a way that makes the film alternately hilarious, heartbreaking, and horrific. It is definitely for mature audiences--there is some violence and a couple of frontal nudity scenes (both of which are essential and very tastefully done)--but older teens might enjoy it as well. Be wary of how the media chooses to portray this movie--it may be called a "black comedy," but, while sometimes hilarious, it is definitely a drama. Go see it--I don't think you'll be sorry.
1999-06-13
In Mendes' Curdled 'American' Dream, 'Beauty' Runs Deep!
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.

Something's rotten in suburbia and it doesn't take long to get to the source of the stink – the Burnhams. Lester Burnham (Kevin Spacey) is a middle-aged burnout who is a marginalized husband to efficient, well-scrubbed Carolyn (Annette Benning) and a disregarded father to sullen teenager Jane (Thora Birch) and whose everyday life has degenerated into tedium. Browbeaten Lester is rejuvenated by the vision of a blonde Lolita. That the object of his obsession happens to be his daughter's best friend, a calculating sylph named Angela (Mena Suvari), matters not at all; he leaps into his fantasy like an enflamed teenager. Unhappy Carolyn undertakes an affair of her own while Jane, repulsed by her dad's hormonal attraction, secretly welcomes the attention of Ricky Fits (Wes Bentley), the strange, self-possessed boy next door. And just when things seem to be falling in place for the Burnhams, it all comes crashing down. If this sounds too depressing, guess again!

Although it's difficult to believe that humor can be found in this toxic portrait of superficial suburban values, predatory sexuality and domestic violence, rest assured it earns its laughs at every turn. Screenwriter Alan Ball gives the viewer a brief, horrific tour of crossed wires, inchoate longing, dashed illusions and resentment that wells from poisoned hearts with staggering self-assuredness. Sam Mendes (in one of the most promising debuts in cinematic history) whips the audience around from humor to horror to something poetic and humane. He suffuses the proceedings with a palpable sense of danger, keeping film-goers unsettled until the very end as to what exactly motivates these complicated characters. But he never loses sight of the humanity behind even the most reprehensible acts, a balancing act pulled off with unusual acumen.

American Beauty turns out to be emotionally satisfying, thanks in large part to a remarkably nuanced performance by Kevin Spacey. He commands the screen with a performance of subtlety, vulnerability and supreme confidence, in which he expresses mordant self-mockery and poignancy in a single gesture. He brings flawless comic timing to Lester's self-absorbed, infantile and rapacious behavior while holding on to the pathos of Lester's rage. Benning turns in her finest performance to date and all three teen players give sturdy and courageous portrayals in roles that would daunt actors twice their ages.

Visually daring, dramatically astute, and beautifully acted, American Beauty is a tart, funny and tremendously sobering movie about the deepest recesses of personal unhappiness. 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. The result is the kind of artful defiance that Hollywood is usually too timid to deliver: a jolting comedy that makes you laugh till it hurts!
2015-04-13
Funny, Sad, Dark and Deep...All in 1 Film. One of my favorite Kevin Spacey Films
In his directorial debut, Sam Mendes took home five Academy Awards including Best Picture and Best director for American Beauty. American Beauty is a dark comedy that takes place in a perfect suburban neighborhood with what is supposed to represent the perfect suburban family, on the surface, but what lies underneath proves otherwise.

Kevin Spacey brilliantly portrays Lester Burnham, an unhappy husband who undeniably has no control of what goes on in his personal and professional life. His wife drives him to and from work and views him as a colossal failure and very peculiar. His voice-over in the beginning of the film confirms that he will be dead in less than a year. He also feels in some ways, he is already dead. When Lester attends his daughter Jane's (Thora Birch) cheerleading performance with his overbearing and controlling wife Carolyn, played by Annette Bening, he develops an unlikely obsession with his daughter Jane's friend Angela Hayes (Mena Suvari) and decides to turn his life around. He begins to fantasize regularly about Angela, quits his job, bribes his boss for $60,00, pursues a fast food career, works out and even smokes marijuana he buys from the new neighbor boy Ricky Fitz, played by Wes Bently.

As the movie progresses, the dark humor as well as a sense on sadness for the characters takes over the viewer. Carolyn, Lester's wife, has an affair with her real estate competitor, The Real Estate King Buddy Kane (Peter Gallagher), and continues to unknowingly push her only daughter further away. Carolyn always appears to be very put together, right down to her pruning shears matching her clogs, but she has several breakdowns throughout the film. Jane is disturbed and disgusted by Angela's flirty behavior towards her dad, yet she continues to invite her to sleepovers. Jane also has self-image issues because her mom accuses her of purposely looking unattractive so this rebellious teen is saving her money for a breast augmentation. The neighbor Ricky videotapes the Burnham family daily in an effort to escape his own reality, focusing quite a bit on Jane who he tapes because she's intriguing. Ricky lives with his marine father Col. Frank Fitz USMC (Chris Cooper) who runs his family like the military. Col. Fitz tests Ricky for drugs and abuses him when he feels his son is disobeying the orders and morals of the family. What Ricky doesn't know is his father has a dark secret he also has been covering as well.

Sam Mendes created this masterpiece by minimizing the editing on the intense scenes and having the camera slowly focus in on the character or characters at that time. Typically, the scenes allow for the mood to be clearly represented because they focus in on the character's faces and expressions. The music in this film also plays a key role in allowing for smooth transitions from scene to scene. The music in this film is soft and subtle, it's whimsical and eerie, and it is also exotic and sensual. The music becomes the invisible sound throughout, allowing a deeper focus on the emotions and the moods of each of the characters.

An unfortunate turn of incidents in infidelity, sexuality confusion, complete miscommunication and assumption of circumstances cause this family and their neighbors to spiral out of control, some even to the point of no return. This movie ranks high on the must see list but not based solely on the script. The music, feelings, humor and drama make this an interesting film with twists and turns you may not see coming. It is Kevin Spacey's voice-over at the beginning and the end of American Beauty though, that set clarity to the entire mood and tone of the film. The deep, dark secrets of suburban life that are apparent in American Beauty are similar to those in Little Children (2006). Little Children also represents a story of infidelity, relationships, fantasies and controlling spouses. These movies send a strong message that everyone has a battle they are fighting and based on that, you should not judge people because you may have know idea who they really are or what they may be going through.
2013-09-22
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