American Beauty - Summary & Critique

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  • Topic: Family, Son, 1999 in film
  • Pages : 2 (511 words )
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  • Published : May 5, 2013
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American Beauty - Summary
American Beauty is a 1999 film about the life of a husband and father, whose mid-life crisis suddenly makes him aware of his pathetic and fake existence. As a matter of fact, he is married to a woman who he has loved, but by this time that feeling has changed into a fake and sad reproduction of itself. Even the relationship with the daughter reveals the protagonist’s failure to face reality and to play the role of a father. On a professional level, he is frustrated and this whole dissatisfaction gives him the semblance of a bungler loser. However, the protagonist’s pathetic and senseless life has not an end in itself, because it is the starting point from which the film begins to strip away several falsities of the American society, such as the sexual frustration shared by most of the characters, the superficiality of his wife’s life, the inconsistency of his neighbor’s ideals against homosexuals and his strong patriotism, that leads his wife to create a second reality. This is the life background of two adolescents, the protagonist’s daughter and the neighbors’ son, who are trying to face adult life even if surrounded by sad examples. The protagonist’s change of behavior, that has its origin in a morbid attraction to one of his daughter’s minor friends, disrupts the life of all the characters that are unable to accept reality. His unusual and rebel attitude aimed at restoring his lost family happiness, starts giving everybody a reason to kill him.

American Beauty - Critique
The movie denounces the hypocrisy of a society obsessed with an outer appearance of success but is eaten away by frustration on the inside. Here, puritanism, patriotism, empowerment, success and family are not spared. American Beauty denounces the failure of the original puritan principles. Sexual frustration, for example, touches many characters, as the protagonist, who chases after young girls, the wife who betrays her husband, and the neighbor whose...
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