American Beauty

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Released 1999

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8.4
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Movie Summary

Director:
Sam Mendes
Released:
1999
Rating:
R
American Beauty is the 1999 dramedy sensation that swept the Academy Awards and critics' best lists of the year, directed by Sam Mendes (Road to Perdition, Jarhead, Revolutionary Road). Kevin Spacey (Seven, The Usual Suspects) plays Lester Burnham, a burned out magazine salesman who is suffering a mid-life crises. With his bosses planning to down-size him, his wife and daughter abandoning him and his future becoming mundane, Lester feels he is stuck in a dead-end life with nowhere to go but down. However, into this spiraling, bleak existence enters, youthful, teenage Ricky Fits, a next door neighbor who teaches him that life does not have to be taken so seriously. To add imagination to this idea he is further captivated and sexually tempted by beautiful Angela Hayes (Mena Suvari) who encourages his admiring, lustful stares and fertile day-dreams, creating a Lolita like romance. However, situations in his life cause Lester to become unaware of the murderous dangers arising from his neighbors, adulterous wife and patristic daughter, so much so, that what he sees as freedom, others consider destructive family threats.moreless

Metacritic Score

  • 90

    The New York Times

    If you don't share the film's piercing vision of what really matters, someday you will.

  • 90

    Los Angeles Times Kenneth Turan

    A blood-chilling dark comedy with unexpected moments of both fury and warmth, a strange, brooding and very accomplished film that sets us back on our heels from its opening frames.

  • 90

    Variety Todd McCarthy

    A script as fresh and distinctive as any produced in the States in recent memory.

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Categories

Comedy, Drama

Themes

Social Issues, Psychological, Classics, 90s, Family Dramas