American Beauty Review

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American Beauty, directed by Sam Mendes and written by Alan Ball, can be classified as a mixture of black comedy and drama, which concerns the very fundamental target points of American culture throughout 1990s. Beginning with the opening scene the audience is made to “look closer” to the American middle class suburban life. Lester and Carolyn Burnham, played by Kevin Spacey and Annette Bening, are an unhappily married couple with a daughter, called Jane, a character played by Thora Birch. Both parents go through their own middle age crises, Carolyn directing her attraction to the realtor Buddy Kane (Peter Gallagher) and Lester to the teenager friend of her daughter, Angela (Mena Suvari). At the same time the affair between Jane and the new neighbor Ricky (Wes Bentley), who views life through a video camera, come into scene. Ricky’s Neo-Nazi, recently retired marine colonel father (Chris Cooper) and the gay couple (Jim Olmeyer and Jim Berkley, Scott Bakula and Sam Robards respectively), living in the neighborhood, are to be considered as other important roles in the movie. The movie is basically nested around the characters. Every character in its own story symbolizes a part of American society, which has been criticized throughout the last decade. The disturbance of the image, created in the 1960s has been a point of target. The perfection of the American middle-class family in the suburbia to be damaged is a janus-faced one, in terms of its reflection and reality. The characters in American Beauty represent a part of this “American Dream”, which is actually not the case, when the inner house is been taken into account. The relationships between the family members and with the outside world is to be seen within their stories, hence the characters gain a significant importance in the movie. The so far as perfect presented life in the suburbia, which was constructed throughout 1960s, has been disturbed within the period of 1990s, making it a field of...
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