Sunday, November 14, 2010

The Very Good Movie American Beauty Reviewed

By Naomi Kline

One of the best films in the last twenty years was American Beauty. This emotionally charged drama won 5 Oscars in 2000. The big star Kevin Spacey also won an Oscar for his starring role.

The story line is about a family in turmoil with everyone struggling with who they are. It is a small family consisting of a couple and their lone child, a teenage daughter. The movie chronicles their battles with each other and themselves.

Lester and Carolyn Burnham and their teenage daughter are finding themselves at odds with each other. Lester (Kevin Spacey) is fed up with work and looking for more in life. His life feels empty and he is going into a mid-life crisis.

His wife Carolyn is all about the money. She acts like a bitch, and is always disapproving of both Lester and their daughter Jane. She is also having an affair with a married man who is a real estate agent like she is also.

Jane, their daughter, is rebelling from the fighting couple and trying to "find herself". Her best friend is a high school hottie who everyone is after, but Jane feels unsure of herself. Even her dad has the hots for her best friend.

Eventually Lester "loses it" at work and quits his job. He gets a good severance pay because he knows some bad things the company has done. He leaves his job and finds work at a fast food place. He also starts working out, and smoking marijuana too.

Jane finds a boyfriend in the new kid next door, Ricky. Ricky is a strange kid with a tough family life himself. His father is a closet homosexual with a strict military background. This has left his mother as a dominated shell of a woman. Ricky sells pot, and becomes Lester's supplier and friend.

This sets the stage for a powerful ending, which I won't spoil for anyone who hasn't seen the film. This is a brilliant film and Kevin Spacey is at his ultimate best. American Beauty is a must see movie.

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