America the Beautiful (2008)



Critic Consensus: This doc doesn't expose any new territory about our unattainable standards of beauty, but does manage to entertain with an effective and accessible tone by filmmaker/subject Darryl Roberts.

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Movie Info

Looking at the cover of popular fashion magazines and examining the lengths that young girls will go to in order to achieve "perfection," it's easy to see why many people believe that America has developed an unhealthy obsession with beauty. In this documentary, filmmaker Darryl Roberts offers deeper insight into this observation by speaking with everyone from advertising and fashion professionals to average people on the street in an attempt to discover precisely why some people are willing to put their lives on the line in order to become physically attractive. Gerren Taylor was a lanky 12-year-old girl whose gangly appearance was once an endless source of amusement for her cruel classmates, but over the course of the next two years her most embarrassing features become her greatest assets as she strives to become one of America's next top supermodels. But what drives girls like young Gerrin to seek the attention and admiration of millions? By attempting to peer into the mindsets of such picturesque celebrities of Paris Hilton and Jessica Simpson and picking the brains of some of the top magazine editors, plastic surgeons, and beauty experts in the country -- not to mention divulging the sometimes bizarre ingredients found in popular cosmetics -- Roberts does his best to find out just why we seem to value surface beauty over true substance.
R (for some language including sexual references)
Documentary , Special Interest
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Critic Reviews for America the Beautiful

All Critics (30) | Top Critics (14)

Perhaps in future exposes Roberts will uncover that ice is cold and furnaces hot.

Full Review… | October 18, 2008
AV Club
Top Critic

Despite the occasional flash of insight, and a few semi-shocking factoids, most women are going to find this movie roughly as illuminating as a remedial math class might be for a Nobel-prize winning physicist.

Full Review… | October 18, 2008
Chicago Tribune
Top Critic

In the documentary America the Beautiful, Roberts explores the cult of beauty in the United States and mostly succeeds in unmasking the flaws of fetishizing skin-deep beauty.

Full Review… | August 29, 2008
San Francisco Chronicle
Top Critic

With so many pointless detours ripping you away, the film feels as lamely digressive as the proverbial one-track guy whose head won't stop turning as each new temptation walks by.

Full Review… | August 22, 2008
Los Angeles Times
Top Critic

Unexpectedly witty and affecting.

Full Review… | August 22, 2008
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

America the Beautiful provides plenty of food for thought, and Roberts' passion for the subject shines through.

August 8, 2008
Seattle Times
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for America the Beautiful


There's some good footage in the clusterf*ck of material that went into this documentary, which couldn't decide if it wanted to be about a) the beauty standards of America, b) a twelve year-old making and breaking it in the fashion industry in a short time span, c) the struggle of people with dark skin to be accepted into the standard of how beauty is judged, d) the epidemic eating disorders e) false media representation defining the self-worth of girls in America or f) of the filmmaker representing himself as the humanitarian crusade of equality and acceptance in the aesthetic world. Some could say: hey it was about all of that, all of those ideas are interrelated. I still call it a clusterf*ck.

Sabra Embury
Sabra Embury

A GREAT documentary that told me things I already knew but alot of things I didnt know as well (Dogs getting plastic surgery?!) I'd recommend anybody & everybody to go see it once or twice.Does America have an unhealthy obsession with beauty? YES we do!

Brody Manson
Brody Manson

Super Reviewer

This was a great documentary! It really explores the issues that America faces with beauty. It covers so many different topics, and each one is an eye opener.

Lauren Scheier
Lauren Scheier

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