American Beauty

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The Color Red
"The beauty that addresses itself to the eyes is only the spell of the moment; the eye of the body is not always that of the soul." George Sand hit the nail right on the head when he said this in 1872. Appearance versus reality has been a central theme in many American creative works including the film American Beauty. American Beauty is a film that delves into your typical, middle-class suburban American home and slowly uncovers all of the abnormalities that lie within. The family is portrayed as normal but as the films tag line suggests "look closer" then it is possible to fully understand the implications that takes place in this seemingly happy home. The film is masterfully directed by the famous theater director Sam Mendes and encompasses a great number of cinematic techniques that appear fresh and exciting. Critics have mentioned many of these techniques. However, they failed to notice the clever use of color used throughout the film--especially the color red. Sam Mendes effectively uses the color red; as a central motif to accentuate mood and theme, to contrast families, and to reveal characters personalities and feelings.

In American culture red is a color of various meanings and images. The color red is the essence of life; it is the color of blood. It can insinuate energy, vitality, passion, anger, power, excitement, and sacrifice. It is a grounding color. Red can stand for warmth, danger, love, sex, death, rage, lust, and beauty. Red is the color used for the women's clothing, the cars, the doors and also it is the color of Lester's blood splattered Gavrelis 2

across the white table at the end of the movie. Red is the central motif of the film. Sam Mendes incorporated many of these meaning of red within the film American Beauty, Not only did Sam Mendes implant a motif of red, he also incorporated a motif of the red rose. Roses in American culture are the ultimate symbol of love, life and death. Flowers are a large...
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