This isn't a review, more of a discussion about the film American Beauty.
This is a highly praised film, it won Best Picture in 1999.
I'm glad its very satirical - with comedic moments - because if this was a straight drama this film wouldn't work. There are a lot of ludicrous elements to the story.
One of the weakest parts I think is the subplot about the neighbour with the video camera. Its too improbable that you wouldn't tell him to just go away if he was filming you and I don't think the relationship with the daughter rings true at all. I don't see what the connection is. Those parts really weigh the film done in its attempts to be philosophical and deep.
My other complaint about the film is that it as a comedy I think it doesn't condemn Lesters behaviour at all. What he was doing with his daughters friend was borderline pedophilia and yet instead of being outraged at this behaviour - particularly a scene late in the film - it amounts to a catharsis really - nothingness.
It was interesting what they were trying to saying: someone can project love onto another person without having to be physical and see what they are really like at their most valunerable state.
Annette Bening is a strange character in this - I know she was nominated for the Oscar but I thought some moments like where she starts screaming when she cannot sell the house was a bit over the top to be honest.
Having said this however, the film is very funny in parts. The Mr. Smiley scene at the drive through is a real gem. And I think one of the films greatest assests is Kevin Spacey who has great timing and delivery. And its a very brave film to come out of Steven Spielbergs production company Dreamworks. Spielberg a very pro-American director, allowing a film like this criticise the falsity of the American Dream.
I watched the film on VHS - lol, thats the only copy I have of it - so maybe some of the scenes at the cinema would have been more intense. But as it stands, its a good film, an interesting one about seeing things for what they are, but its not always successful.
If you agree/disagree let me know.
BL - Just having my say!