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American Beauty

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All-Reviews.com Movie Review: American Beauty

Starring: Kevin Spacey, Annette Bening
Director: Sam Mendes
Rated: R
RunTime: 121 Minutes
Release Date: May 1999
Genres: Drama, Comedy


*Also starring: Mena Suvari, Thora Birch, Peter Gallagher, Allison Janney, Sam Robards, Barry Del Sherman, Wes Bentley, Chris Cooper



Review by NicoleG
4 stars out of 4

As the lights go down and the first shot runs, you might fear to have entrapped yourself in just another of those outworn stories in which somebody gets to kill another member of the same family. Fortunately this is not the case: scene after scene you will be constantly surprised by the evolution and folds of "American Beauty". When the last shot is over you get the mixed feeling that you have seen a very original and worthy movie dressed up as an ordinary one. In fact the dualism original/ordinary is often to be found in the scripture. There is the teenage girl who would do anything not to be considered as "ordinary". The retired Marine Officer who ruins his life and the life of others in order to stick to his idea of being "regular". The house agent whose main interest is to appear "special". While the main character - Lester Burnham - at the age of 42 finds out that it is meaningless to live according to standards built by society and by others. He gradually starts to change by listening to his real and deeper self. He realizes, for example, that a career towards a visible and high-responsibility job is not what he wants but what he is supposed to want, so he quits his job and feels great about it. Lester's journey to fulfilment and self-consciousness comes along with his friendship to the young neighbour. This 18-year-old boy spends most of his time filming the outside world with a video camera. Through this sort of third eye he acknowledges the beauty of life. The whole message of the story is that life contains a beauty which is expressed in many ways and that people shouldn't wait until they die before finding out and appreciating it. This message flows and grows through all the story and it clearly comes out in the final. I think "American Beauty" is a spiritual film in the New Age style, a good beginning of millennium film also. I would suggest you to see it for many reasons and if you're not in the mood to see a committed movie, you can still enjoy the comedy that's in it. I'm sure that you won't be bored anyway.

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