"Sometimes there's so much beauty in the world I feel like I can't take it, like my heart's going to cave in."
American Beauty was a movie that came to me highly recommended, and applauded by critics as a masterpiece. After watching it, it's obvious that nothing less can be said about this film. American Beauty is a masterpiece and a truly impressive film, one to be treasured for years to come, and unquestionably worthy of the numerous awards it has received.
The story that is told in American Beauty is beautiful and pleasing to watch for the most part, but also intricate and with deep meaning. Not often does a film come across with such a powerful message as this one has, and it stays with the viewer long after the film comes to an end. It follows the events of Lester Burnham, a somewhat depressed man in his early forties. His marriage is at downfall and his teenage daughter is uncaring and wants nothing to do with him. A series of events follow that lead Lester to change his life around; falling in love with his daughter's friend, drugs and quitting his job. Multiple stories within the film are told, as his daughter falls in love with the next-door neighbour and his wife realises that she wants more than her corrupt life with her family. The story starts off simply as it introduces characters and a setting, which don't seem too inimitable at the time, but as the story goes on and we travel deeper into the life of 42 year-old Lester Burnham, it becomes clear that these things aren't all that they seem to be. The characters seem to be easily related to a community such as the suburbia in which this film is set, and all have a great realism towards the story.
Probably the most impressive component to this film was the screenplay. Written by Alan Ball, it made the film so much more compelling and riveting to watch. Each line was clever and humorous to some extent, which created an enormous insight to the story and characters. This is the perfect example of how important a screenplay is, and the perfect example of how clever it can be. The directing by Sam Mendes was incredibly fulfilling and insightful to the affecting story. He created a film that is both moving and emotional, but also extremely transfixing to watch. The score was contemporary and highly expressive, adding to the entire feel of the movie. It perfectly fitted the the events and gave the film a more genuine and realistic edge.
The cast was incredible, a great mix of versatile actors, all very different from one another. Kevin Spacey as the lead role gave a phenomenal performance. After watching this film I honestly can't think of anyone else with the role of Lester Burnham. He was perfect for his character and he was gripping and potent throughout the entire film. Annette Bening was also incredible to watch, her performance was mesmerizing and she became her character to an extent that was extraordinary. Thora Birch as Lester's insecure and bemused daughter was also amazing to watch. She gave a brilliant performance beyond what I would have expected. Wes Bentley gave an electrifying performance, adding to the diversity between the many supporting actors in this film. He gave another great performance and one that connects well with the viewer. Mena Suvari was surprisingly exceptional for her role; her performance more likeable than her character. Chris Cooper and Peter Gallagher were also nice additions to the impressive cast, giving riveting and powerful performances.
American Beauty is one of the best movies ever made, and I am extremely glad that I have seen it. With a unique story, ingenious screenplay and directing, enthralling performances and full of complete beauty that is astounding to watch, American Beauty is a must-see film for anyone and everyone.
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