American Beauty

Critics Consensus

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

88%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 184
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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.

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Cast

Kevin Spacey
as Lester Burnham
Annette Bening
as Carolyn Burnham
Thora Birch
as Jane Burnham
Wes Bentley
as Ricky Fitts
Mena Suvari
as Angela Hayes
Peter Gallagher
as Buddy Kane
Chris Cooper
as Frank Fitts
Allison Janney
as Barbara Fitts
Scott Bakula
as Jim Olymeyer
Sam Robards
as Jim Berkley
Barry Del Sherman
as Brad Dupree
Ara Celi
as Sale House Woman No. 1
John Cho
as Sale House Man No. 1
Fort Atkinson
as Sale House Man No. 2
Sue Casey
as Sale House Woman No. 2
Kent Faulcon
as Sale House Man No. 3
Brenda Wehle
as Sale House Woman No. 3
Lisa Cloud
as Sale House Woman No. 4
Alison Faulk
as Spartanette No. 1
Krista Goodsitt
as Spartanette No. 2
Lily Houtkin
as Spartanette No. 3
Carolina Lancaster
as Spartanette No. 4
Ramana Leah
as Spartanette No. 5
Chekesa Van Putten
as Spartanette No. 6
Emily Zachary
as Spartanette No. 7
Nancy Anderson
as Spartanette No. 8
Reshma Gajjar
as Spartanette No. 9
Stephanie Rizzo
as Spartanette No. 10
Heather Joy Sher
as Teenage Girl No. 1
Chelsea Hertford
as Teenage Girl No. 2
Amber Smith
as Christy Kane
Joel McCrary
as Catering Boss
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News & Interviews for American Beauty

Critic Reviews for American Beauty

All Critics (184) | Top Critics (48)

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

    Feb 22, 2015 | Full Review…
  • This is Spacey's best performance since he took home an Oscar for The Usual Suspects.

    Feb 22, 2015 | Full Review…
  • This engrossing centrepiece meshes with subplots involving Burnham's dysfunctional family and unbalanced neighbours, in a virtuoso study of isolation, repression and fulfilment. Mendes infuses the lush visuals and lyrical script with dramatic panache.

    Feb 22, 2015 | Full Review…

    Ed Potton

    Times (UK)
    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.

    May 8, 2014 | Full Review…
  • Kevin Spacey gives the performance of his life.

    May 8, 2014 | Full Review…

    Rex Reed

    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.

    Jan 28, 2014 | Rating: 4/4 | Full Review…

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