Sunday, May 6, 2012

Movie Time! 'American Beauty'

"While struggling to endure his perfection-obsessed wife (Annette Bening), an unfulfilling job and a sullen teenage daughter (Thora Birch), suburbanite Lester Burnham (Kevin Spacey) falls deep into a midlife crisis and becomes infatuated with one of his daughter's friends (Mena Suvari). Director Sam Mendes dazzles with this arresting blend of social satire and domestic tragedy that scooped up five Oscars, including acting honors for Spacey."

This was something I watched for my Literature and Film class.  I wasn't sure what to expect before actually watching it and I was nervous to see it after my teacher listed everything in the movie that made it rated R.  Believe me, it was quite a long list of legitimate reasons for making a movie rate R as well as arbitrary ones.

When movie started to play, it seemed as if this would be another movie about a suburban family being perfect.  And that's the point.  That's the facade this family was putting up for the world to see.  But once inside the house, we find out just how dysfunctional this family of three actually is.  

The mother, Carolyn, is controlling and possessed by perfection while the father, Lester, is at her mercy.  The daughter, Jane, is a typical teen, though maybe a more somber one, that hates her father and can't stand her mother.

The imagery and cinematography was beautiful.  The lighting towards the end in the dark room with Lester and Angela (Jane's friend) was just so beautiful.  The rose petals/roses that show up throughout the movie.  There were so many things that made this movie about beauty, well, beautiful.  That's the problem with beauty.  You can think of synonyms, but one can never seem to boil it down to its essence and explain it (at least not effectively).

One thing that I should mention though is how... I don't think 'graphic' is the right word, but it would be a step or two down from that.  There were uncomfortable things in this movie, no doubt about it.  Lester was infatuated with a sixteen-year-old girl, there are a few instances of nudity and other sex-related phenomena.  Maybe I'm not bothered by these things as much as I used to be because I know that the actors playing these roles are more than likely not like their character in real life.  While some things are a little bizarre and even disturbing, I don't think it's deterring from the overall film.

It's a wonderful debut from this screenwriter.  I was really surprised to find out that this was his first.

If you like awesome cinematography, a well-put-together cast, lovely imagery, and aren't distracted by bizarre and uncomfortable things in movies (that's not to say you will absolutely not be uncomfortable), than this movie is for you.

Thanks for reading!


1 comment:

  1. This is honest-to-god one of my favorite movies ever. It's better than rocky horror. I equate it with Harold and Maude, even. (have you seen Harold and Maude? If not, PLEASE DO! It's not as uncomfortable as American beauty, but the message of appreciating the beauty in life is just as prominent. We should watch it next weekend.)


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