American Beauty Character Analysis

Topics: Personal life, English-language films, Kevin Spacey Pages: 2 (647 words) Published: March 31, 2006
American Beauty Character Analysis
Everyone knows the Golden Rule: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. But is this necessarily always true? Apparently not to Kevin Spacey as he played the role of Lester Burnham in the 1999 film American Beauty. His rule was "When you've got nothing to lose, you might as well risk everything".

Lester Burnham and his wife, Carolyn, portray a perfect lifestyle to the naked eye. Everyone sees Lester as a man with a perfect high-paying job and a perfect family that lives in a perfect neighborhood. But things are most certainly not what they appear. Lester hates his life. He is hated by his wife, Carolyn, and only daughter, Jane. Lester views himself as a failure to life. He has nothing that he desires. His day consists of a long day at work, a pointless ‘family' dinner with the two people he hate him the most, and then ends with heartless personal attacks by his daughter or wife and the miserable feeling knowing he is going to wake up the next day and do it all over again. This builds and builds inside of him until he reaches the second stage of his midlife crisis: depression.

After giving up all hope he gives one last desperate attempt to make things work with his family by attending Jane's high school cheer competition. As he sat in the audience watching the cheerleaders he is infatuated by one of Jane's friends, Angela. From that moment he decides he is going to turn his life around. Assertively, Lester quit his high-paying job, blackmailed his superior, and began working at a local fast-food restaurant. He also started lifting weights on an everyday basis and pretty much doing what he wanted which was live his life the way he wanted.

In result of his new acquired lifestyle, he subconsciously changed those around him. For example, his uncaring, self-adored daughter, Jane, became a little more sensitive and even developed a serious relationship with their shy next door neighbor. And as for his wife, Carolyn,...
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