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American Beauty

A movie directed by Sam Mendes

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The characters are not what they seem, up until the end........

  • Feb 15, 2006
  • by
Rating:
+5
Think about it, what makes this film the best of 1999 is the acting. Kevin Spacey shines as Lester Burnham, and Annette Bening (Carolyn Burnham) isn't far behind. Supporting cast members such as Wes Bentley (Ricky Fitts), Thora Birch (Jane Burnham), Mena Suvari (Angela Hayes), and Chris Cooper (Col. Frank Fitts) only adds to the drama of this film. I think the most special aspect of this film is how all of the characters intertwine in a way that is believable, yet fantastic at the same time. I congratulate Sam Mendes for his direction of this film, as well as Alan Ball for writing it. I don't think it could have been any better.

Rated R in the U.S. for strong sexuality, language, drug content, and violence, the film obviously deserves its rating. However, none of the causes for the R rating are overbearing, and all of them add to the plot-line of this film. While I don't think that this is a film for children, I would suggest that adults should view it with an open mind. I believe that the traits which many of the characters in this film have are found in many people around the world. Perhaps that is why this film hits close to home for so many viewers.

While billed by some as a "comedy-drama", I don't see anything about this film as funny. Sure, there are some comedic moments, but by the end, those moments were all but forgotten when faced with the grim reality of the conclusion of the events portrayed in this film.

If you want to watch a light-hearted film with some elements of comedy and some elements of drama, don't see American Beauty. But if you enjoy films that make you think, and are entertained by an excellent cast, excellent directing, and an excellent screenplay, this film should be at the top of your list.

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More American Beauty reviews
review by . September 17, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
**** out of ****     Lester Burnham (Kevin Spacey) is facing a midlife crisis; as many men in the movies have before (and after) him. He doesn't have a healthy relationship with his wife Carolyn (Annette Benning) or even his teenage daughter Jane (Thora Birch). Not to mention, he finds his job to be crappy; as if he's trapped in a world which he cannot escape. This is sad. The entirety of "American Beauty" is, in my image, sad. Why so many people quote the little "funny" lines …
Quick Tip by . September 19, 2010
Years later, this seems a little dated and it is hard to see how new and exciting it was for viewers. The acting by Kevin Spacey and Annette Benning is reliably excellent. But it seems as though there is not much "there" there.
review by . March 02, 2009
posted in Movie Hype
DVD
First-time filmmaker Sam Mendes has won the hearts of critics and audiences alike, in what some are calling the most extraordinary cinematic directorial debut since Orson Welles' Citizen Kane in 1941. Sam Mendes' film, American Beauty, is a modern masterpiece and one of the seminal films of the last few decades. Mendes, who is perhaps best known for his revival of the stage production of Cabaret, brings all of his theatrical sensibilities to the screen and in doing so he has actually expanded the …
review by . May 28, 2009
Writer, Alan Ball's (of Six Feet Under & True Blood fame) first theatrical script blurs those stereotypical slow death in suburbia lines and keeps the viewer off balance throughout the entirety of the film.      This film, is, above all, a deeply moving drama. The suburbanite, highly dysfunctional, Burnham Family is sad, enchanting, sickening, wonderful, confusing, tragic, abhorrent, and every other adjective listed in Websters. That is precisely what makes this film …
review by . December 17, 2008
This movie is truly one of the greats!  Kevin Spacey does an excellent job as being a middle aged men going through a mid-life crisis.  His family is pretty dysfunctional and he's really trying to find his place within his family.  His infamous line "I Rule!" is the best and is such a perfect line for the movie.  Annette Benning plays his wife whom is also very unhappy in her marriage and seeks out a colleague for support.  This is one of her best performances.  Their …
review by . May 06, 2004
posted in Movie Hype
Writer, Alan Ball's (of Six Feet Under fame) first theatrical script blurs those stereotypical slow death in suburbia lines and keeps the viewer off balance throughout the entirety of the film.This film, is, above all, a deeply moving drama. The suburbanite, highly dysfunctional, Burnham Family is sad, enchanting, sickening, wonderful, confusing, tragic, abhorrent, and every other adjective listed in Websters. That is precisely what makes this film a true "one-of-a-kind". Mr. Lester Burnham (Kevin …
review by . April 02, 2000
posted in Movie Hype
Pros: Great story and acting     Cons: None     What happens when an American Family melts down? The viewers of this film get an inside glimpse into a typical American family dealing with sexuality, monogamy, mid life crisis, teen angst, career highs, women as breadwinners, drugs, and the rest of the topics that we all deal with in our own everyday lives.      The acting is superb and the characters engrossing. The filming technique was …
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Jen-Jay AKA:JJI ()
Ranked #82
Married into the military for over a decade and it does has itpros andcons. The lifestyle is great and Ido enjoy it. I'm able to do things and see things that I thought I wouldn't dream of. My kids loves … more
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Wiki

AMERICAN BEAUTY tells the story of Lester Burnham (Kevin Spacey), a suburban father who snaps when he becomes disgusted with his stale, repetitive existence. Burnham lets us know in voice-over from the film's opening that this is the day he dies (using the SUNSET BOULEVARD flashback approach), a technique that adds an inevitable tension to the proceedings and keeps the story moving forward at all times. On a whim, Lester quits his job and begins a regression into young adulthood, lifting weights, smoking pot, doing nothing, and discovering the overflowing sexuality of his 16-year-old daughter's best friend, Angela (Mena Suvari). His wife, Carolyn (Annette Bening), has her own midlife crisis of sorts. A real estate agent, she experiences a youthful awakening when super-agent Buddy Kane (Peter Gallagher) seduces her repeatedly. Meanwhile, Jane (Thora Birch), the Burnhams' daughter, is pursued by Ricky (Wes Bentley), the mysterious boy next door who carries a video camera around with him at all times. When ...

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Details

Director: Sam Mendes
Genre: Classics, Comedy, Drama, Gay & Lesbian, Mystery, Romance
Release Date: September 8, 1999; September 15, 1999
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Runtime: 2hrs 0min
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