Finding Happiness (Film Analysis of Sam Mendes American Beauty)

An American beauty worth to remember


             I can’t tell that the movie was produced year 1999 disregard the cinematography but watching a throwback movie is probably new to your eye. An American drama film directed by Sam Mendes and written by Alan Ball where it was Rated R (requires accompanying parent or an adult) for it includes nudity, masturbation, and sexual situations, some real and some are imagined. Starring Kevin Spacey, Annette Bening, Thora Birch, Wes Bentley, Mena Suvari, Peter Gallagher, Allison Janney, Chris Cooper, Scott Bakula and Sam Robards.

The Director did similar movies inspired by American Beauty but never the same twice, in this movie it was awarded five Oscars including Best Picture and was also considered as the best film by the year 1999 according to the American Press, also they were awarded Best received title at the Toronto International Film Festival where it won People’s Choice Award.

Lester is a man who is mid-40s who is experiencing a middle crisis in his life just like any other man, in his case worse than what an ordinary man experiencing by that moment. His life with his wife Carolyn is definitely a cold one; on her side she tries to portray a full control image where in fact she feels empty, desperate and lack of love with her own family, and so they have a teenage daughter named Jane is also depressed regarding depression, lack of self-esteem and making herself feel she’s unattractive in every way. Alongside she has a best friend namely Angela which is her opposite, the most blessed in all ways, Noticeable and very attractive that  happens Lester, Jane’s father find Angela attractive and also build a lust and feelings for her, more or less she becomes Lester’s inspiration to change his own lifestyle when it comes to physical appearance. Meanwhile, Next door, A marine cops Colonel Fitts who spent  as an Army, Pressured and makes his son to be almost perfect and live life what he wants it to be and ended up his son being so rebellious in silence. He is a drug-dealer and also a man who sees beauty in many ways and to add up he secretly cam cord Jane in different angles secretly that makes his affection deeper than he seems it would be.

Seeing the structures of each character in the movie is quite interesting for 1)It is composed of a family who lives together 2)They are encountering issues in life which is really happening in real life story, and lastly they each emphasize who are them as a lead character and how to act to believe viewers that they possess the character well. What’s bothering me is why did the writers or the person in charge on the story to let the whole characters live in the same place? I think it’d be better if the characters like the family of Lester, their neighbors and the two bisexual lives more far from each other. I was watching it and all of a sudden an idea popped up on my mind, I knew that there would be a problem between all of them, not because I’ve read the summary NO! But it’s because the settings is so clear to understand what might happen. Each group of family or people connects to an object that they possessed. Rose is one kind of a beauty only it have thorns, so it means that beauty also have it’s significant flaws, flaws are thorns. Gardeners cut them out simply to avoid people cut themselves. The idea is this, not all beauty is good and not everything is pleasing to our eyes, sometimes we just describe beauty for what it was defined in this world. American beauty talks about the beauty of each and every one in their own uniqueness and own way. People are different and so how their perspectives go along. Beauty depends on how an individual sees it, it’s not always equally understood for we have our own belief. There is no such thing as a perfect family and that is why they made the movie, explaining that there comes a time that when a man reach to it’s 40s he will start to look for new interest, because he was too busy working for the family and for his own good. Also when a woman reached from an age where she wants everyone to see how a successful living in a perfect life she is. A child or a teenager whom on the other hand will became rebel for some instance in her stage, the teenager was not raised well by a good parenting. That is how what society wants the structure of our life to be, it’s not mandatory to but that is how it designed it to be and anything that is unfamiliar in their eye serves as a questionable situation. Not being contented on what you are and what you have. The movie portrays that though both parents are wealthy enough for the future of their child and status that doesn’t mean that you made the right choice. Both were too busy in their social structures in life and only think for themselves forgotten that they are both made a decision to be a family where they are obligated to take good care of a life they made, and can’t even make time to chin wag to their only daughter regarding on how her day went and so on and so forth, because it’s their job to do that so both parents are liable to act as an adult and know their perspective responsibilities.


            Things that can be seen in the movie is materialism, How Carol value things more than important things she have, like living things not things that man made and gave it meaning. She believes that success and appearing successfully will lead her to happiness. Another meaning of the title is searching for beauty, what beauty really is, not what’s seen outside. Ricky saw beauty by the use of his camera. Rose is also a symbol of American Beauty, wherein red symbolizes passion, love and joy, and each and every character is combined with roses around them. Roses are red and it means love but in the movie it also represents lust and also danger (pertaining to blood) the movie does not tackle about how love is done and so as death and danger. Color and props however don’t cover everything in the story and it’s the message that is important about it. They made various types of camera angles and on how they edit it to look understandable to make it look smoothly. Overall the story ended wrong in my opinion, It could be much more grateful to see if it is explained or re-enacted how he felt lively having a chance to live again, and should be thankful for having a family and a good life in his realization but with all due respect from the director It’s just how I want the movie to be nothing personal about it. Suma total everyone is searching for a way to linger or to feel happy once more for some had forgotten what happiness feels like. For sometimes we confuse beauty with ugliness and completely missed the beauty itself. It’s always a matter of appreciation folks and also understanding.

American beauty explains different themes and also it can be based in a true to life situations. Scenes that are possible to happen and who knows maybe it has already happened thousands of times in different people we just don’t know for it wasn’t published to be paid for. I guess it’s actually constructed on real life who have their own issues mumbling in their head.

In the end, The lead character Lester who reminisce the moments he had when he was alive means that in the end of his life, It was not all about the fantasies that he think about but the most worthwhile happenings that he had experienced. To get deeper, I researched about what was America by the year 1999 and brought me to knowledge about the roses. We can see that the motif of the film is red which is next to roses. In American culture roses represents love, life and death. American has this thinking that flowers contributes a large part of American’s culture. The beauty of roses have an equivalent part of danger, for they have thorns that can prick. The title means a lot of symbols. It represents Angela who possess beauty like a rose but appears to have flaws, as the movie continuous to roll, the meaning of petals became clearer for it’s the sign for SEX. Probably Sam Mendes made the film for viewers to look closely on the picture that encourages viewers to understand the whole point. He directed the film about foolish things American does for them to be uplift. He wants us to find beauty deeper in our lives and forget for a while to focus on things to make us look flawless, because there is no such thing as perfection.


“Mere colour, unspoiled by meaning, and unallied with definite form can speak to the soul in a thousand different ways.” –Oscar Wilde 


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