American Beauty

Essay by bigkjHigh School, 12th grade March 2004

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In the film, American Beauty directed by Sam Mendes, two sequences that were of significance were the opening and closing sequences. The opening sequence is important as it foreshadows how the main characters will develop throughout the film. In the closing sequence, the full development of characters is seen and is highlighted through important events.

In the opening sequence the main characters foreshadow how they will develop throughout the film. One way where this foreshadowing is seen is when the main character Ricky asks Jane if she wants her father (Lester) dead, "Do you want me to kill him for you?" This foreshadows the death of Lester. Another way in which foreshadowing is used is when Lester's voice-over is heard when he talks about Carolyn (his wife). Lester through the help of an establishing shot of his 'perfect' neighbourhood portrays his wife as an control freak and demanding for perfection" Notice how her gardening gloves match the handles of her secateurs that's is not an accident".

This helps in setting up the so-called allusion of suburban bliss but also foreshadows that their family life is not all what it seems to be.

In addition, during the opening sequence the main character Lester is introduced. Lester is seen as bored and stuck in modern suburban neurosis. One way this is shown is when the camera pans horizontally and we are shown Lester's daily routine of putting his slippers on to having a shower. This sets up the mundane nature of Lester's daily routine, and when he says, "It's all down hill from here" it highlights that Lester has hit a mid-life crisis and because of this, he finds life utterly boring. Lester's crisis is formed by trying to keep up with society and consumerism under demand from his wife Carolyn,