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on August 1, 2017
Kevin Spacey deserved the Academy Award he received for this film. Who else could play Mr. Everyman, a loser who has lost the respect of his wife and daughter and coworkers but fights to get himself out of the rut he is in? The fact that his main motivation is his attraction to his daughter's beautiful 16-year-old friend is a little disturbing, but she turns out to be someone quite different from what she pretends to be, and that relationship ended up being quite sweet and poignant. Lester is surrounded by characters who are mostly caricatures, including his ambitious, unfaithful wife and a neighbor who is hiding a dark secret. I will try not to reveal any spoilers, but just say that this movie is for all those who live their lives in quiet desperation. May you find the freedom that Lester Burnham did, without meeting the same end.
10 people found this helpful
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on August 9, 2017
Hands down one of the best modern movies to date (2017). Disappointing to see the poor reviews; those people are too basic and clearly do not understand the complexities and challenges of the western culture, let alone the beauty that any and all life and lives can bestow, if you just open your eyes and heart and watch - like the plastic grocery bag dancing in the wind.

great casting, acting, cinematography, directing and soundtrack...Did I miss anything else? I'm sure I did. 100% perfect film.
7 people found this helpful
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on May 28, 2017
The progression from perfect suburbia to unhinged chaos is mesmerizing. Fantastic performances of unhappy people losing it as their veneer of normality crumbles. This completely out-of-the-box film portrays suburban lives with complex dynamics where everyone damages everyone else. Highly recommended.
5 people found this helpful
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on April 17, 2018
I almost quit watching this film after the first 20 minutes or so, as the acting & entire tone of the film seemed somewhat stilted, as if trying to be quirkily off-the-wall and funny but not quite succeeding. But I hung in there, and was pleased to discover a curious fact: as the characters were forced to become more real and honest due to circumstances, so too did the whole film become more relaxed, real & honest. It was amazing to watch, how a filmmaker can reflect the stilted facade that people maintain, in the very style of the film. When the people were hiding their true feelings, the film style felt fake, vaguely cartoonish. But once circumstances forced them to peel away their false fronts, to drop the social personae acquired after years of sameness, years of predictability, years of serving expectations, the acting became stellar and real. For this alone, this film merits a high rating.
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on January 28, 2017
All families have secrets and sometimes the interaction between members can boil over into negative interactions and disaster. I liked the movie and as always, when two people genuinely love each other, love prevails.
4 people found this helpful
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on March 5, 2017
This is a brilliantly executed film, a flawless production by every metric. The story tells of Lester Burnham (Kevin Spacey), who feels he has spent his personal and professional life, unappreciated, oppressed, and dutiful to a fault. His perfection-driven, immaculate, rose-growing, chilly wife, Carolyn (Annette Bening), who's also a robotically enthusiastic realtor, can't stand him, nor he her. Their daughter Jane (Thora Birch), as the progeny of this unhappy, hopeless pairing, has not escaped the despondent mood. There are lots of moving parts: Ricky Fitts ( Wes Bentley) moves in next store, an 18-year-old drug dealer, who shoots ( with a camera) a lot of dead stuff and now a lot of Jane; Lester breaks free and does a lot of crazy (albeit freeing) stuff; and Carolyn goes off the rails. All of that remains to be seen. The movie Magnolia was released the same year as American Beauty. It also deals with the harshness of life and some damaging influences perpetrated by folks, particularly parents on children. But, in the case of Magnolia, there are a few immensely kind, empathic characters that populate the film. There are very fleeting moments of any semblance of compassion in Beauty. I've always maintained the unscientific premise that 2 out of 3 people are really good. It's all the 3rds that seem to inhabit Beauty, making it, for me, a brilliantly executed bummer, but absolutely to be seen. All filmmaking disciplines are on fire and in stunning sync .Recommend
12 people found this helpful
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on December 26, 2016
this is a movie every father of a teenage girl should see.You may see yourself
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on June 6, 2017
A masterpiece, mesmerizing and compassionate. BTW, Peter Gallagher has the greatest eyebrows in Hollywood.
2 people found this helpful
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on June 1, 2000
By the end of American Beauty, I knew that in whatever evaluations I might articulate about the film, this was one case where I can't pretend to have any kind of objectivity.
The emotional impact of this film on me was so great that I felt personally affected, a rarity when I watch a film these days. No character of any weight is neglected in this film, each with a carefully considered arc and deep-welled needs and desires that make you care. Kevin Spacey as Lester Burnham brings to life the complex psychosexual dilemmas of the character effortlessly, with his trademark offbeat charisma and wit; Wes Bentley, with his penetrating stare and sensitive characterization, brings a tenderness and nuance to the oddball-kid-next-door role of Ricky Fitts; Thora Birch projects deep maturity as Jane, clarifying every internal change her character goes through as she starts becoming drawn to Ricky to leave her family behind; Mena Suvari joins the ranks of Katie Holmes and Sarah Polley as a young actress to watch for, injecting remarkably depth and absolute honesty to the role of Angela; even an antagonist like Col. Fitts is filled by an excellent portrayal in Chris Cooper's performance, a wrenching mix of hardened hatreds and shattering vulnerability. The only character that was questionable to me was Annette Bening's, where I actually feel like Carolyn's private moments (where we're supposed to be able to poke through her mask) are also not believable. However, given so many other moving moments, points of delicious humour, and visually gorgeous cinematography, I didn't really care. And aesthetically this is a feast for the senses: Conrad L. Hall's acclaimed cinematography both makes the actors and scenery look good and help probe into the life within them, and Thomas Newman's score is perfect, as light-fingered as director Sam Mendes' staging and tone, as delicate as the performances, as witty and suggestive as Alan Ball's multi-layered, richly evocative script, and as beautiful as the visuals.
This film soared to the top of my best-of lists right after I saw it, ranking alongside diverse favourites I've seen over the years including GoodFellas, The Killer, Manon of the Spring, Fun, and Kagemusha: The Shadow Warrior. American Beauty is every bit their equal in terms of visual sophistication, performances and craft, while surpassing them all in its quest for emotional catharsis and engagement.
2 people found this helpful
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on December 20, 2000
1999 was a great year, if not the best year in movies ever, and american beauty earning the oscar for best picture is debatable by many. all i gotta say about that is it deserved it far more than cider house rules...i don't know how that movie even got nominated, but that's a different story. 1999 had a whole bunch of great movies, but probably none better than american beauty. some have argued that it really doesn't show a mid-life crisis well, but the thing about it is, it's not meant to show a mid-life crisis well; it's trying to show the vanity in materialism, in living a world because we are taught to live in the world a certain way, which causes us to miss the beauty around us. can we truly stop and smell the roses? this movie is great for this point, enjoy the beauty around you. God made us a world to enjoy, let's not just fly by without taking a peek, and let's not ruin it by vainly scratching for the best 4000 dollar couch.
One person found this helpful
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