American Beauty

Essay by jordan8900 November 2004

download word file, 3 pages 4.0 2 reviews

Mathew Manos


Prof. F. Con

American Beauty

Provoked by forbidden passions, Lester Burnham (Kevin Spacey) decides to make a few changes in his boring life, changes that are more symbolic of an awakening from a deep sleep. The freer he gets, the happier he gets, which is even more maddening to his wife, Carolyn (Annette Bening), and daughter Jane (Thora Birch). They get angrier when he turns his lustful obsession toward Jane's friend Angela (Mena Suvari). Carolyn responds by focusing her attention to real estate tycoon Buddy Kane (Peter Gallagher).

Included in this mess is the arrival next door of an equally turbulent family: strict Marine Col. Fitts ( Chris Cooper), his emotionally empty wife, Barbara (Allison Janney), and his distant son, Ricky (Wes Bentley), who soon develops a fascination with Jane. Ultimately we see Col. Fitts making a realization of him that subsequently impacts all the characters.

An issue that I found interesting in this movie is how a person when they get married their lives change. In this case Lester and Carolyn used to be a happy couple, however once the marriage progressed the two grew more and more distant from each other. Often we see this in marriages, where one or both parties drift away from who they were and from each other. Why does such a thing happen? What happens to the person to cause them to change from who they were? In this case, Carolyn, as described by Lester used to be a loving and spontaneous woman. However once they were married, her personality changed and she became more driven toward success and being perfect. Once Carolyn had changed, all Lester could do was bite his tongue and shut his mouth to keep what he had thought to be a solid marriage.