Materialism and Family Relationship
American Beauty, a dark comedy movie, satirizes problems of American lives such as materialism and family relationship. In modern society, people live in affluent lives. It's easy for people to over-emphasize materialism. In the film, Carolyn, one of the main characters, owns a lot of luxurious things which people envy, such as a mansion, a sumptuous dinning room and a top-class Mercedes. However, she is unhappy with her life. On the one hand, although her job, a real-estate agent, earns a lot of money to satisfy her desire, she is in a lot of pressure. To be a successful agent, she must be hyper-organized and maintain a perfect image at all times. She often says some peppy little slogans such as, “I will sell this house today!” and “In order to be successful, one must project an image of success at all times.” She even slaps her own face to relieve herself from stress. How much pressure she must be going through! The things she does for success are satirized in the film, which are funny but pathetic. On the other hand, she also has problems with family relationships. In her family, she is a control freak, dictating the music aired during dinner time, even if her family doesn’t like it. They have their own opinion, but Carolyn doesn’t care what they think. The things she cares are those surface, perfect images. For example, she watches Jane’s cheerleading performance and concerns whether Jane screws up or not, to avoid embarrassment; and she brings Lester to a social party to build an image of a good marriage even though Lester doesn’t like to attend such occasions. Satirically, she wins these materials and a successful image, but she loses family love and other joys in her life. Therefore, we should not only care about living a materialistic life; instead, we should enhance our spiritual life, in that way we can make our lives happier. ……………………………………………………………………...
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