American Beauty Film Analysis

1033 Words5 Pages
The award-winning film, American Beauty (1999), follows around a plethora of characters that predominantly struggle with their individual identity crisis ' throughout the film. The director, Sam Mendes, is able to create a film that constantly tries to subvert the notion of the American Dream and Family with an overwhelmingly witty and poignant dialogue that emerges through this group of characters. Mendes uses Lester, played by Kevin Spacey, as the poster boy of this uncomfortable transformation that disguises itself as a "midlife crisis". Through the use of various cinematic techniques Mendes is able to accentuate the inner feelings of each of these characters and what they are experiencing whilst going through this identity crisis. With…show more content…
The first scene of the film opens with a narration done by Lester. This narration occurs over an aerial shot of a a street of various houses implying that this family is basically unimportant. We learn that Lester already dead at the beginning of the film and that he is retelling this story after his death, meaning that the event that will occur are all a flashback of what lead to his death. Mendes uses that the fact that this movie is entirely a flashback to imply that these events are not fictitious to help with the fact that sometimes the film takes on a very cartoonish feel. Continually, in the opening scene, the narration immediately sets the tone for what will ensue throughout American Beauty. Lester 's overly monotonous tone and simplified sentences bring you into a world of purposefully plain dialogue that is used to demonstrate the mundane life that Lester and the Burnham 's live. As we learn more about the Burnham family, the facade that each of them seems to put up to display this picture of the "perfect" American Family following the American Dream, is progressively…show more content…
It becomes evident that Mendes uses the rose as a motif that appear in various scenes. The first appearance of the roses are while Carolyn, Lester 's wife, is meticulously trimming the roses to create the perfect rose bush. Similarly to Lester, it is evident that Carolyn puts up this facade of a perfect housewife but is it is easy to see her discontent with her life as the film progresses. The appearance of the roses transitions from being associated with Carolyn to appearing along with Angela. The very form of the roses change when they appear with Angela from full roses to just the rose petals. The scenes in which the rose petals appear alongside Angela are usually when Lester is fantasizing about her in a sexual manner. The roses appear more after as Lester 's discontent with his life becomes more apparent he begins to change his life to live a more exciting and fulfilling life. Many of the ideas that Lester encounters are brought on by the desire and forbideness that are represented through Angela 's character, and her constant appearance alongside roses lead the audience to believe that the roses are directly associated with Lester 's
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