Film Analysis of American Beauty and the Graduate

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Jessica Burns
309164
Jmbf6b@mail.missouri.edu
Film Studies 1800

Sequence Analysis/ Assignment No. 2

American Beauty

-From when Carolyn arrives home until the end of the scene with Lester in their living room (Chapter 19: 1:14:35–1:17:40)

The movie “American Beauty” literally is trying to express how much beauty there is in America but it is not always so easy to see. Often in the film objects normally thought of as ordinary are magnified to express deeper meaning and show what beauty really exists in the world. The color red, for instance, is an ordinary color but it shows its face numerous times throughout the movie. The color is not just ordinary it is significant, as it represents love, passion, and happiness. Though, the color red is actually representing the absence of those aspects in Lester and Carolyn’s marriage. In the scene I choose to analyze, Lester and Carolyn almost reach that red in their lives again for a moment, then suddenly it turns to grey and the answer to the disappearance of their passion for one another is exposed. Mise-en-scene is used from the moment the sequence begins. There is no lighting in the room only the natural lighting from the sun peeking through the curtains. This naturalistic filming greatly affects the realness of what is about to happen between Lester and Carolyn; it provides a very natural and intimate setting. However, in the background all that is visible are fancy, expensive decorations and pieces of furniture, which represents the wealth that has consumed the passion and love that Lester and Carolyn once had for one another. It is even portrayed in the clothing each actor is wearing. Carolyn appears striking and of high social standing in her fancy purple dress, while Lester appears simple and carefree in his sweatpants and t-shirt. The body language within the sequence expresses the reality of what the film is really portraying. When Carolyn enters the room she is so uptight, as...
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