American Beauty has not aged one bit

15 Jan


Director Sam Mendes’s first motion picture, American Beauty uses his theatre roots to create a dramatic film about a middle class family trying to escape the doldrums of an ordinary life. Lester (Kevin Spacey), experiences a mid-life crisis. His dissatisfaction with life leads to major lifestyle changes. His wife Carolyn (Annette Bening) is obsessed with her career and will do anything to become a success, even at the expense of her daughter (Thora Birch) who is your typical teenager with self-esteem issues and a weirdo boyfriend.

Although, Alan Ball’s script won the Oscar for best screenplay in 1999, he does not get the credit for inspiring a long list of films dedicated to examining the American family condition.  Mendes’s direction balances strong performances from Spacey, Bening, and Chris Cooper with gorgeous imagery that forces audiences to think on a much deeper level about ordinary things like plastic bags and roses. The brilliance of American Beauty has not aged one bit.


Adam’s Grade: A

Chuck’s Grade: A+

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