American Beauty 9/10
American Beauty (R) 1999
Reviewer’s Tilt (7)
Special DVD Features worth a look-Making of featurette
Beauty lies within all things. Unfortunately, the harder you look, the more elusive it becomes. American Beauty is about men striving for success, wives driving their men, children seeking parental approval, parents seeking understanding with their children and everyone seeking a loving respect. Middle-aged husband and father, Lester Burnham (Kevin Spacey), slowly discovers his white suburban life is devoid of respect, fulfillment, love and meaning. Rallying the few remaining drops of moxie left in his tired bones, Lester catalyzes a life altering catharsis. He chucks his white-collar job for a fast food gig, starts getting high and buys a cherry 1970 Pontiac Firebird.
Surprisingly, as Lester sheds responsibility, his family and those around him actually begin to respect him more envying his newfound peace. This message of this film is profound. People generally think “If I just had this” or “If this person would just do this” they would be happy. Fulfillment, however, is never found in another’s reflection or in material pleasures. Fulfillment comes with inner peace. You must change yourself. As Lester discovers, once the material possessions and the transgressions of others no longer direct your life, you have achieved inner peace.
Format: Color, Widescreen Anamorphic, Closed captioned.
Sound: (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround), (Dolby Digital 5.1), (DTS 5.1 Surround)
Extras: Director and writer commentary; making-of featurette; cast and crew info; interviews with cast and crew; Storyboard commentary with director and cinematographer; Digital screenplay and storyboards (DVD-ROM).