Director: Sam Mendes
Stars out of 10: 8.4
Wow, American Beauty is not just a satire of the American suburbs, but also a caricature of the whole world. Aren’t we all really like this inside? I believe the characters shown in the film are really the sort of people that we cannot explain or we have them hidden somewhere at the back of our minds, while some have bought it forward, others haven’t. Anyway, the Burnham’s are probably the most dysfunctional family since the Sawyer’s from the 70’s, or maybe third to the Sitcom family. I believe the characters are not too complicated to understand and what they go through totally shows their maturity of their mind. Carolyn leads her to believe that she is the victim, even though she’s not and Jane thinks that Ricky is a great person, even though he’s not. I think it’s all the effects of the drugs, and it has made him devoid of emotions and understanding. Also, I believe Jane to be completely confused about what’s wrong and what’s right and she picks the one she finds attractive.
Anyway, American Beauty is widely considered one of the greatest films of modern times and I can’t help agreeing to it. It tackles issues that can be tackled but cannot be presented in such a brilliant manner as this one. The sexuality, repression, depression, loneliness, happiness, alienation, life, death and all that. I personally am a big fan of all these subjects because I can relate to it, and not just the fake-happiness, the-world-is-fine-and-nothing-is-wrong-with-it attitude many films adopt. This is almost-realistic and captures most of the feelings accurately, or at least the ones I could identify. In all, after watching this film don’t be surprised if you come up with many different analysis and interpretations. Remember, this is one of those open-ended movies we get once in a-while!
From the cast, Kevin Spacey, Annette Benning, Wes Bentley and Chris Cooper were truly phenomenal in their roles as Lester Burnham, Carolyn Burnham, Ricky Fitts and Frank Fitts, respectively. I kinda found it funny when I read somewhere that the latter is gay. I think Frank was just confirming what he saw. And it proved to be wrong. Or maybe he really is, you know, in the closet. From the supporting, Mena Suvari and Thora Birch were just OK, nothing memorable and just handled their characters barely.
All in all, I don’t think my analysis, or point of view of the film, holds up against the others and if you want to, you can either prove me right or wrong. American Beauty is indeed a great film but I have to see it one more time to add it to my great movies list!