#14 American Beauty
Starring Kevin Spacey, Annette Bening, Chris Cooper, Mena Suvari, Thora Birch and Wes Bently
I absolutely adore this movie and I’ve been so excited to get to this. This movie came out in 2000, just when I started realizing there was more to movies than just entertainment value. I started to see the work and art that went into film making.
The greatest thing about this movie has to be the acting. This movie was flawlessly cast and Annette Bening was absolutely phenomenal as the suburban mother/wife/career woman who wanted everyone to think she led the perfect life. I’m literally in awe of the subtle facial expressions she can make. I love that each character was deeply flawed yet not completely black or white. Only Annette Bening can pull off being such a despicable and annoying character who we still sympathize with. This movie lets you see the absolute worst in each character while still letting you deeply care for them.
I really wish I could remember the first time I saw this movie. All I remember is always loving it. It’s one of the first mainstream movies of this era that allows you to take a different look at the human emotion and what we are capable of and most importantly what we need to do for ourselves. Nobody will ever have the answers. Male or female. Young or old. We are all good people and we are all bad people. So few movies can actually be such an entertaining piece of work while giving off such a poignant sensation in one’s self. After re-watching this, I literally couldn’t think of anything else the rest of the day.
From the beginning of the movie we know that Kevin Spacey’s character, Lester Burnham, is going to die. The whole movie kind of plays as an autopsy of his death. We know he will die, but we don’t know how. As we meet all of the other characters, including his perfection-obsessed wife and his angst-ridden teenage daughter, we see it play off as almost a murder mystery. Even though we don’t know he will be murdered, we can almost immediately guess it because this poor guy is so pathetic and the other characters are so troubled. You could really see any of the characters blowing his head off for some reason. But as this is all going on, it’s still a such a though-provokingly dark/sad/funny/disturbing/witty movie.
Not everyone has the perfect marriage or family. Not everyone is happy with their job or their bank account. But this movie reminds you, not only to look closer at what goes on in the seemingly ideal life, but to look closer at your pathetic life and see the beauty in anything you can find. Even a floating plastic bag.
-Oscar Alert!: Best Picture, Best Directing, Best Actor, Best Cinematography, Best Writing. With 3 other nominations.
-The score was also nominated and it kills me that it didn’t win. The music was like it’s own character. It stands out so much because it’s so unconventional and eclectic. It’s such a great complement to the vivid cinematography.
-“Will someone pass the fucking asparagus!”
-Everytime Annette Bening screamed in a scene, I really wanted to give her a standing ovation.
Next up: American Psycho