American Beauty - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

American Beauty Reviews

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January 21, 2017
Kevin Spacey's best performance
January 8, 2017
This movie has a lot of everything, little bit of comedy, little bit of drama, little bit of American Pie, little bit of American History X. That's what makes this movie basically perfect.
December 26, 2016
Even in a such disputed year, "American Beauty" manages to overcome all movies, being absolutely perfect in every aspect and becoming one of the greatest movies of all time and an unquestionable masterpiece.
½ December 19, 2016
I remember seeing this as a kid, the cover, and I knew I could not watch it! Finally seeing it now. That was crazy. But really good! Really hit home too. So the main couple are not happy with their marriage and they have not been physical in years. The husband is tired of his job and is having a midlife crisis. His wife is a perfectionist and materialistic and she's not happy with the marriage and has an affair. Their daughter has no self-esteem and she's not happy with her parents. Wife has an affair, and the husband falls in love with his daughter's best friend. All kinds of crazy. Really good though and really deep. They talk a lot about putting on a show as if you're leading a happy life or a happy marriage when really, at the core, it's crumbling. What are you going to do to fix it?
December 17, 2016
It deserves every single Oscar!
½ December 17, 2016
Desatinados cambios de dirección: al inicio parece que tratará acerca de la pasión de un tipo por una menor de edad. Luego se enfoca en el romance entre dos adolescentes poco carismáticos y en el giro que da el tipo en su vida profesional y familiar. Al final la comedia se convierte súbitamente en un drama trágico. La inconsistencia en el tono y en la temática me frustra. Eso sí, hay un twist bien genial en el personaje de la adolescente sexy, así como en el del señor vecino. 5/10
December 7, 2016
Middle-aged crazy

[Beware spoilers]

Lester Burnham (Kevin Spacey) is your usual well-behaved 42-year-old dreg of an American dad until he spots his teenaged daughter's girl friend, Angela Hayes (Mena Suvari) whose beauty transforms him. Part of the fun of this very funny and enjoyable movie is watching Lester break out of his self-imposed shell and blossom with the rose petals as he tells everybody what he really thinks as though he had nothing to lose.

His daughter Jane is a brooding raven-haired beauty who likes to put on a white-powdered face and red Betty Boop lips to go with her full figure. Thora Birch, who plays Jane, has a face that can mesmerize, and Director Sam Mendes puts her to work mesmerizing us.

Annette Bening, in a comedic tour de force, plays Lester's wife Carolyn, a straitlaced, uptight, worry wart who sells real estate. Next door we have, just moving in, 18-year-old Ricky Fitts, played with sly self-assurance by Wes Bentley, the dope-dealing, Bible-suit wearing, photog son of Marine Corps Colonel Frank Fitts and his mostly catatonic wife. Two houses down there's Jim and Jim, your smiling yuppie fruit loops and all-around neighborhood sweet guys. They are however an embarrassment to Colonel Fitts who is living in the deep, dark corner of a very large denial closet, paranoid to the teeth that his only son has inherited the same shameful desires and will act them out. In an effort to keep Ricky disciplined and on the straight and narrow, the good Colonel practices various forms of child abuse ranging from bare-knuckle beatings to medicated imprisonment.

In other words what we have here is your typical American suburban street. What makes American Beauty a great success is a witty script with a deep and beautiful lesson for our age by Alan Ball, superb direction by Sam Mendes and outstanding performances from just about everybody in the cast. Bening is brilliant with her silly finger gestures and her one foot sideways stance, like a fawn just learning to walk, and her squinty little eyes full of merriment, and that raised and then downward pointing index finger of indignant reproof. (But she really needs to keep her pretty shins off the bedposts or at least off the wall.) Mena Suvari is perhaps no more beautiful than any number of other screen darlings, but she has a litany of sexy expressions and poses that inspire delight. Her portrayal of a fast lane teen siren whose talk is bigger than her experience is just perfect. She might be a budding star.

But more than anything this is an uplifting and satisfying tale of an unappreciated, unloved and mostly ignored man who is inspired to transform his life by the beauty of a girl. For many people (and for most women, I would wager) falling in love at first sight with a teenaged girl just because she is beautiful is shallow and beside the point, inappropriate and not fair. But women love men for their power and their strength and their standing in society. Is that fair to those men who have none? Lester's love for Angela was so great that it transcended carnality, but he didn't know that until he began to take off her clothes and then he realized something very beautiful. He could love her without making love to her. If he took advantage of her youth and inexperience, it would cheapen his love for her and possibly destroy it. Maybe some people in the audience felt he wasn't a real man because he stopped, but I tend to feel the opposite. Not that I think there is anything wrong with making love to 18-year-old girls (on the contrary); but if the girl is incapable of experiencing that love, then perhaps it is better to love her from afar without a sexual expression, even at the risk of disappointing her, especially if you're old enough to be her father, and especially if you really do love her. Notice that in the next scene she is bored and for her the magic of sexuality is gone. He might as well be her father.
So much of what we are presented through the media is a focus on those males who would only be able to express themselves in some sexually-exploitive manner. So much of what we read insists that this is the only way men are. I'm happy to say that American Beauty presents another point of view, and presents it beautifully.

The point made by the surprising ending (and the reason for the presence of the Marine colonel and the two gay guys) is that our contemporary "enlightened" society may recognize the legitimacy of homosexual love, but continues to hypocritically condemn the love of a man for a young girl.

--Dennis Littrell, author of the movie review book, ?Cut to the Chaise Lounge or I Can?t Believe I Swallowed the Remote?
December 2, 2016
Surreal yet enticing, American Beauty finds director Sam Mendes unevenly juggling many themes about the human condition.
November 29, 2016
Strong film with uneasiness throughout. B-
November 21, 2016
"American Beauty" is one of my favorite films of all time. Not only is it a great satire of American middle-class notions of beauty, but also a rich, provocative, witty, and mesmerizing story about paternal love, materialism, self-liberation and mortality. There are some striking imagery, as well as darkly funny and memorable moments, all anchored brilliantly by the terrific cast and director Sam Mendes. I loved every minute of "American Beauty". It is a great film.
November 16, 2016
American Beauty is much deeper in context than what the audience thinks just by watching it one time. Absolutely love this film in every way.
November 11, 2016
No wonder this won best picture it's a masterpiece in cinema.
November 5, 2016
Very dark comedy with excellent cast and nuanced portrayal of different problems people face at various stages of their life. This film is like a cross section of society.
October 31, 2016
Such a fantastic movie. Frank Underwood was so much kinder and gentler back when he was Lester Burnham. Mena and Thora showed us their boobies. And the soundtrack is excellent. Definitely worthy of Best Picture and Best Actor.
½ October 24, 2016
Wickedly funny, witty, tragic, and, of course, beautiful.
October 10, 2016
A brilliant masterpiece of a movie that offers a dry, blunt slice of life in a suburban neighborhood.
October 8, 2016
Kevin Spacey flat out astounds the audience. The first time drab behavior invigorated audiences like I have ever seen. Every cast member gives a show stopping performance without over shadowing any actor. Another rare feat. And the ending! dear Lord! Excellent!
October 6, 2016
For all it's darkness and barely hidden cynicism, American Beauty is, well, a beautiful film. It makes one appreciate life more and has an odd sense of optimism about it, and makes a filmmaker like myself never want to stop making movies.
½ October 4, 2016
I've cooled on it over the years but this film about a mans midlife crisis is still fun to watch.
October 3, 2016
"Es genial comprobar que todavía tienes la capacidad de sorprenderte a ti mismo."
Lester Burnham - Belleza americana (Sam Méndes 1999)
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