American Beauty

Nominated for eight Academy Awards, and winner of five including Best Picture, American Beauty is one of the best films of all time. Exploring the depths of the American Dream – a good job, a nice house, the perfect marriage, etc. – the film is dripping with symbolism and satire. A cinematic study of societal dysfunction, American Beauty will affect a broad range of emotions within its viewing audience, and it’ll make you laugh as well. This is a great movie, and although some people will shy away from it, everyone should see American Beauty at least once so they can form their own opinion…

Kevin Spacey plays the role of Lester Burnham, a middle-aged suburban resident who seemingly lives the American Dream. He and his wife Carolyn (Annette Bening) have a nice house, a beautiful daughter Jane (Thora Birch), and successful careers. But things aren’t always as they seem. In reality, the Burnham’s are the definition of dysfunctional. They fight over everything, screaming at the dinner table about ridiculous things such as vegetables. Carolyn is engaged in an affair with rival real estate broker Buddy Kane (Peter Gallagher), and Lester is suffering from a creeping depression/mid-life crisis.

Meanwhile, Jane is developing an infatuation with the strange boy who recently moved in next door, Ricky Fitts (Wes Bentley) – a drug dealer/homespun director with a homophobic Marine Corps father, Frank. When the source of Frank’s homophobia bubbles to the surface, we learn that – just like the Burnham’s – most of the neighborhood is living a different life from that which shows on the outside…

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