American Beauty (1999)



Critic Consensus: Flawlessly cast and brimming with dark, acid wit, American Beauty is a smart, provocative high point of late '90s mainstream Hollywood film.

Movie Info

A biting, penetrating and often humorous take on contemporary life in suburban America, Lester Burnham becomes intrigued by a young girl named Angela, and this fascination sparks him to make some major changes in his life. He relishes these changes, much to the exasperation of his wife Carolyn.

Rating: R (for strong sexuality, language, violence and drug content)
Genre: Drama, Comedy
Directed By:
Written By: Alan Ball
In Theaters:
On DVD: Jan 2, 2002
Dream Works - Official Site


as Lester Burnham

as Carolyn Burnham

as Jane Burnham

as Ricky Fitts

as Angela Hayes

as Buddy Kane

as Frank Fitts

as Barbara Fitts

as Jim Olymeyer

as Jim Berkley

as Brad Dupree

as Sale House Woman No....

as Sale House Man No. 1

as Sale House Man No. 2

as Sale House Woman No....

as Sale House Man No. 3

as Sale House Woman No....

as Sale House Woman No....

as Spartanette No. 1

as Spartanette No. 2

as Spartanette No. 3

as Spartanette No. 4

as Spartanette No. 5

as Spartanette No. 6

as Spartanette No. 7

as Spartanette No. 8

as Spartanette No. 9

as Spartanette No. 10

as Teenage Girl No. 1

as Teenage Girl No. 2

as Christy Kane

as Catering Boss
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News & Interviews for American Beauty

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Critic Reviews for American Beauty

All Critics (181) | Top Critics (45)

American Beauty is deeply disturbing, acerbically funny, brilliantly acted, breathtakingly original and highly sophisticated.

Full Review… | February 22, 2015
Top Critic

This is Spacey's best performance since he took home an Oscar for The Usual Suspects.

Full Review… | February 22, 2015
Minneapolis Star Tribune
Top Critic

Why, then, did I enjoy it so little? Because of its unrelenting self-importance: American Beauty wants us to know, in every shot at every turn, just how clever and mercilessly cutting it is.

Full Review… | May 8, 2014
Wall Street Journal
Top Critic

Kevin Spacey gives the performance of his life.

Full Review… | May 8, 2014
New York Observer
Top Critic

Alan Ball's script is a terrific piece of material, and Mendes responds directly to its subversive, provocative vision of a curdled American Dream.

Full Review… | January 28, 2014
Seattle Times
Top Critic

American Beauty approaches a manic, almost cartoonish edge without falling over. Both Spacey and Bening use extraordinary comic timing to bring these very sad, lost characters to life.

Full Review… | January 28, 2014
New York Daily News
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for American Beauty


Exceptionally quirky, entertainingly intelligent and witty and finally and importantly, stirringly poignant.

Adriel Lim
Adriel Lim

Super Reviewer


Lester Burnham is undergoing a serious midlife crisis; pining for his lost youth and obsessing over a teenage cheerleader, he's married to a joyless go-getter who encloses herself in an armour of sarcasm and self-help and has a daughter who he cannot communicate with and clearly hates his guts. Most of the laughs in this film are provided by Lester's social rebellion, but it's communication (or lack thereof) is what this wonderful film is all about. Full of people who feel suffocated by their own apparently meaningless lives, it's a story of ordinary people full of wants and needs but unable to express them because of the overwhelming feeling that they must do what is expected of them; they must at least APPEAR to be "normal". Lester's fantasies about the young girl are just projections of what he feels is missing from his life, just as his wife's desperate need for "success" are. The cast are all perfect, the multi-layered script sparkles with witty dialogue and it's full of memorable moments, culminating in a deeply moving, insightful and thought provoking finale. Genuinely beautiful.

xGary Xx

Super Reviewer


Directors Cat
Directors Cat

Super Reviewer

American Beauty Quotes

– Submitted by Andrea M (23 months ago)
– Submitted by Andrea M (23 months ago)
– Submitted by Andrea M (23 months ago)
– Submitted by Andrea M (23 months ago)

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