American Beauty Reviews
Lester Burnham - Belleza americana (Sam Mťndes 1999)
I also could not wrap my mind around the character Lester's arch. He goes from an average guy with a boring monotonous life to an anti-hero willing to engage in sexual activity with his daughter's best friend as well as blackmail his wife. It's not that this character arch was unbelievable, but more that it was unsatisfying. To me it was an attempt on the writer's part to make the film as edgy and biting as possible, while sacrificing the story line in the process.
Another point of discontent was the rose thread, which symbolized lust and passion. I felt it was too overt for the viewers. There is no element of this film that is difficult or trying to grasp; it is all very in your face, leaving nothing for the viewer to ponder as they leave the theater or walk away from the screen.
I did appreciate the methods used in the film that contributed to the cinematography as a whole. The use of the mundane sounding elevator tunes throughout the movie conveyed the boring nature of the average American life beautifully and was a marvelous thread that stayed consistent up until Lester was shot. The sameness conveyed early in the film by the sets matching the characters' outfits was also a choice I appreciated that further exemplified the theme of monotony.
Although some elements of the film did contribute to some enjoyable moments, overall I believe it was not as great a movie as others believe it to be due to overreaching on the writer's part to give it immense shock value, although it did convey an important social message in the end.