My chosen film is the critically acclaimed Oscar-winning drama ‘American Beauty’. Directed by Sam Mendes and written by Alan Ball, it tells of Lester Burnham (Kevin Spacey), a middle-aged advertising executive who has become dissatisfied with his life and Loses himself in a midlife crisis. Encouraged by his teenage daughter Jane (Thora Birch) to make changes in his life, he quits his job as an advertising executive and begins a journey of self-discovery that leads him to finally find inner peace.
Describe your chosen film for your classmates.
The film is set in the suburbs of Los Angeles, and its opening scene sets up the tone for the rest of the movie: you see Lester driving home from work while listening to loud music – something that has become routine for him but at the same time expresses how trapped he feels within society’s expectations of what it means to be an “adult”. We soon learn that Lester married Carolyn (Annette Bening) more out of convenience than love, as they have grown apart over the years; their marriage is strained due to various issues including Carolyn’s extra marital affair with her real estate partner Buddy Kane (Peter Gallagher).
Meanwhile, Jane has developed feelings for her next door neighbor Ricky Fitts (Wes Bentley), who secretly videotapes people around town for inspiration – one of whom happens to be Lester himself. This captures Lester’s interest as he sees himself through Ricky’s eyes; we also get glimpses into Ricky’s chronic depression which shows us how fragile life can be.
One night when Ricky visits Jane she comes up with an idea for him which will allow her father to appreciate life again: She gives them both video cameras so they can secretly record each other’s lives – providing insight into themselves as well as each other – leading them on a path towards self exploration. This journey culminates in a climax where all four characters must confront their flaws head on – allowing them each to reclaim some degree of freedom and happiness back into their own lives.
Avoidantly touching upon themes such as American Dream disillusionment, adolescent rebellion against authority figures, beauty worshiping consumerism, suburban malaise – ‘American Beauty’ is ultimately about finding balance between individual desires and societal demands placed upon us by our culture/status quo. It paints an honest portrait filled with human complexities without condemning or glorifying any particular character or action – allowing viewers to draw their own conclusions through its deeply powerful story arc highlighting struggles faced while trying navigate through everyday relationships & decisions we’re forced make throughout our lives whether we like it or not.
Overall I believe this movie offers a highly thought provoking look at modern day America culture wrapped up in gripping narrative coupled with stellar performances from its cast members across board making for truly unforgettable cinematic experience!