American Beauty: Argument Summary

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American Beauty Summary 1

In the movie American Beauty there are many ideas of the American Dream that come out of it as well as many controversies. There is much argument in the world already about what true beauty is and with the American Dream it is apparent that mainly it is about having material objects. In the article “Beautiful Necessities:” American Beauty and the Idea of Freedom by David L. Smith, he talks about how the two main families (the Fitts and Burnhams) are represented. “If the Fitts illustrate the tragic effects of the repression of desire, the Burnhams represent the pitfalls of its pursuit.” (Paragraph 4) The Fitts is a family run by a retired Marine who runs his family like a military, and ultimately is the antagonist in the pursuit of desire. While as the Burnhams represent how unhappy people can be if they pursue only material wealth. Smith talks about in his article how there is no real way out of this madness. Ricky has his drugs and his video camera, while Lester has his fantasies, as well as masturbation. In this film there is really not too many questions; however this movie is shown by Smith to be a statement of the contemporary American Dream. Smith believes that this video shows that beauty comes out of nowhere. This is shown in the scene where Ricky is taping the plastic bag as it floats in the air. This film shows the “Spiritual discoveries” that the characters have as a sense of enlightenment of their own sad life.
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