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American Beauty
Drama, Romance
IMDB rating:
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.
Type Resolution File Size Codec Bitrate Format
1080p 1920x818 px 13404 Mb h264 (High) 1536 Kbps mkv Download
HQ DVD-rip 852x476 px 1436 Mb h.264 1500 Kbps flv Download
iPhone 480x268 px 636 Mb xvid 600 Kbps mov Download
..still baffled..
I saw a special preview of the movie tonight. It's true. I laughed. I cried. I saw some things there that I never thought would be there. But, nothing hit me so hard as the ending until 15 minutes after I had left. I had to walk away from the group of people I was with, because I was so flabergasted. I suggest anyone who wants a movie that will *truly* leave you moved (unlike a certain overhyped with movie), I HIGHLY press "American Beauty" onto you. I will be there many more times.
Powerful film
What can I say that hasn't already been said? This movie was one of the funniest yet most disturbing movies I have seen in a long time. Kevin Spacey gives what may be his best performance (yes, I thought he was better in this than the Usual Suspects). The directing was top notch and all the other acting was terrific. I think this movie paints a good picture as to who we are as people. Not everyone in this world is a perfect, good looking person, and this movie plays on that notion. Everyone should go see American Beauty.
Petty and Uncreative
Without a doubt, American Beauty is the most overrated movie I have seen. For those of you who have read Joan Didion, this script smacks of Play It As It Lays.

What happens when a "typical" suburban professional male realizes his dissatisfaction with his life? He reacts in an insubstantial and unconvincing way. My job stinks - quit my job. I have trouble communicating with my daughter - smoke dope. My wife is distant and cold - fantasize about another woman. And so on. Yes, it is Mar-eye-ah cracking a boiled egg on the steering wheel all over again (Didion reference).

Here's the question I really wanted this movie to explore: if, at midlife, Lester really feels that his life is not what he expected, where does he want it to go, what will he do about it, and can he get away with it.

Sorry, but get religion, join the French Foreign Legion, or start a home-based business. If you're life is a joke Lester, don't make it worse by becoming a cliche.
One of the year's finest
Watching "American Beauty" is like looking into a handful of American lives slowly plunging into moral and emotional devastation. Although these people are gaining a sincerely fulfilling happiness, they are also slowly losing their grip on human value and order. This is not your average social commentary, it has something most satires lack; poignancy. On one hand, this is a scathing examination of the facades and truths that surround a seemingly "perfect" suburban family, displaying what it would be like if everyone's true colours emerged, as they liberate themselves from the painful phoniness that society forces them to live by. One the other hand, "American Beauty" is a thought-provoking and emotionally devastating character study of two families finally achieving joy for the first time in their lives, unaware of the profound impact they are having on themselves and each other, and neglecting the consequences that will inevitably follow. "American Beauty" shines in almost everyway, from it's stunning imagery of beauty fused with immorality, to it's darkly hilarious script, this is one of those rare films that stay with you for a long time. But the main thing that makes this movie soar are the performances, Kevin Spacey and Anette Benning are simply sensational as the feuding married couple exploring new realms of life, Wes Bentley, Chris Cooper, Mena Suvari and Thora Birch also showcase excellent performances. A truly remarkable film.
Everything that's wrong with Hollywood, distilled into two horrible hours. Spoilers.
Now, let me see if I've gotten this straight: "Saving Private Ryan", an epic tale of honor, glory, and sacrifice set against the backdrop of what was possibly the most important single day of the Twentieth Century, was not worthy of the Best Picture Oscar.

However, "American Beauty", a movie whose heroes are a middle-aged pedophile who casually endangers the future of his family, and the next-door drug dealer who finds "beauty" in people getting their brains blown out, is.

I see.

"American Beauty" might work as satire if 1.) it weren't telling us something we've KNOWN for fifty years - that the suburbs are not this perfect, "Ozzie and Harriet" world of smiling, white-bread people - and 2.) if the characters depicted in the movie were in any way REALISTIC. Instead, "American Beauty" is a parade of the most tiresome Hollywood cliches of the 1990s. I don't care how pathetic Spacey's and Bening's characters' lives are - would they really be THAT devoid of any redeeming values? Are we supposed to CHEER Spacey as he quits his job, smokes pot, and lusts after seventeen year-old girls, all to the detriment of his young daughter? Are we supposed to laugh at the ex-Marine's idea that the world NEEDS certain rules and standards in order to work? Clearly, we are. These are not characters at all, but ciphers. Indeed, the ex-Marine is one of the most laughable ciphers at all. He is the parody of the Evil Gun-Toting Gay-Bashing Right-Wing Military Nut, taken to its furthest extreme. As columnist John Leo recently put it, "the only thing they forgot to do was to make him a tobacco company chemist and a trustee of a segregated college." And the final revelation that the "gay-basher" is in fact gay himself is the final piece of this Hollywood stereotype; a move meant purely to make sure this character and his world-view, that of the importance of morality and of the necessity of rules in society, is completely discredited.

And I know, I know: I'm not reading between the lines. I need to "look closer". Well, I submit that those who glowingly praise this movie are looking TOO closely. It's easier to lose sight of the larger message a movie sends when you examine any one element too closely. And all that the people who made this movie have "proved" is that they live on an entirely different planet from the hard-working, Joe and Jane America they claim to so brilliantly "expose" - the same Joe and Jane America that keeps Hollywood in business.

(Ordinarily, I'd rate a movie like "American Beauty" about a "3". But since it was without question both the most offensive AND the most overrated movie of 1999 (move over, "The Phantom Menace"), and since more needs to be done to counterbalance these morons who think it's the next "Citizen Kane", I feel I have no choice but to go with my original gut instinct and give it a big fat "1". For years, I've made it a practice to save every ticket stub from every movie I've seen, regardless of its quality. Nevertheless, my "American Beauty" ticket stub now sits in torn-up shreds at the bottom of the concession-area garbage can. It seemed a fitting gesture toward this Oscar-winning piece of putrescent pap.)
Pretentious and senseless
***Spoilers ahead**

When I first saw this movie I enjoyed it, right up until the last 5 minutes or so. Could this be any more cliche-ish (new word)? Oh the "repressed homosexual did it" who didn't see this coming? Thank goodness they didn't use the other ending where the drug dealin' kid gets arrested, that would have been even less plausible. The wife is coming home with a gun, motive - none. What, she wants to leave her husband so she kills him? Please. The neighbor boy kills him to take his daughter to NYC, motive - none. They can just walk out the door. Oh, but the marine finally realizes he's gay so he kills Spacey. Give me a break. I can see the studio execs now, sitting around a table convincing themselves this was a good movie, then sending out the cash to the Academy members to convince them. The movie would have been much better if A) the marine killed himself instead of, or after, killing Spacey. B) the marine has a breakdown resulting in no deaths. or C) I had stayed home and rented the Usual Suspects instead. What a waste of Kevin Spacey's ability.
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.
A Masterpiece
This movie is probably one of the greatest I've seen in my entire life. Every character in this movie plays his/her role phenomenal. A movie like this doesn't come around every so often. This movie deserved every academy award that it won (but it did deserve more.) Kevin Spacey plays Lester Burnham. This is probably one of the greatest acting performances in history. If you saw the movie then you would realize why I say this.

The movie has a very dark tone about it. The theme of this movie goes much deeper than you realize, and explains how beautiful and how bad life could be.

From Start to finish this is a masterpiece and I strongly recommend it. 10/10
life affirming
I've had an account for close to 2 years now and after watching this film I felt the need to write my first review. To sum up 'American Beauty' in one word would be near impossible, Kevin Spacey's portrayal as the sick to death suburban husband and father who's desperately trying to figure out when and where it all went wrong is undoubtedly Oscar worthy on it's own merits, but as we all know Spacey always brings something to the table that others can't offer.

He takes us through a journey of mid-life self discovery and is able to accomplish what many forty-something ordinary..unhappy, bored with life husbands and fathers cannot, he's the feeling in your gut, he's the voice in the back of your head, telling you to do it, do what would end the misery and open yourself to the beauty of the world.

To watch this film for the first time 15 years after it's release and it still have an effect on the viewer says a lot for the film itself, it is becoming increasingly difficult for anything pre-2000 to stay relevant, especially in this modern mess of a world but 'American Beauty' delves into both adolescent and adult life with the tag line '...look closer' being so subtle yet so pertinent.

Coming into a review it is incredibly important to remain objective, but of course if one is writing passionately it may appear subjective, reading a lot of negative reviews about 'American Beauty' it appears one of the main critical points made is that the film is full of cliché's, or is described as one big cliché. It's not hard to see where these opinions come from but it's important to realise that not all great films need to be bursting with taboo matters and subjects, sometimes the simpler stories are the most eye opening...

'American Beauty' along side 'Fight Club' in my opinion is one of the most life affirming films that I have had the pleasure of watching, teaching that there's so much beauty in the world, in places and things you would never even think to look twice at, you've just got to be ready, and willing to be in that place, where you've not nothing to lose.

To reiterate, 'American Beauty' cannot be summed up in one word, you just have look closer, if you're ready.
The film is very open ended and endorses different appreciations. That's the secret of this film, I believe.
The first time I saw this movie, I thought it was a very weird movie. The experience quickly faded off, although I that boy-who- records's character intrigued me a little. Yesterday, I chose to give this movie another watch and I couldn't emphasize enough how drastically my opinion has changed.

The second watch helped me form a better view about this. And if it is anything to go by, I believe it is one hell of an anti- establishment movie. Almost all the characters are, although seemingly "normal", are living pathetic lives- all except the boy- who-shoots. It is revealed later on why he is way ahead of all other characters in terms of appreciation of "beauty" as he calls it. The film showcases a drastic transformation in the lives of every character. The facades come crumbling down. All the tightly- knitted culturedness, normalcy's, belief-systems come apart as characters discover how pathetic all their lives are. The younger generation is more open to changes, the elders- the more they resist change- the more frustrated they become. Meanwhile it is revealed that the most straight-jacketed (in terms of conservative notions like homosexuality, marriage, discipline) is a secret admirer of fascism and the most sorrowful character. Slowly, as all the characters let go and accept their natural feelings, instincts, desires- sometimes bordering on scandalous- they feel better, relaxed, happier. All but one is transformed.

The film describes how heavy orthodox beliefs can get, how they have the power of consuming people's lives, harming people. The film, for me, is an acute critique of all means of classifying things into binaries. It endorses a more tolerant view of life and portrays the insidious nature of judgments. I loved it and would watch it again, soon.
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