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40 of 42 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "...And in a way, I am dead already."
"American Beauty" is a pure cinematic triumph that is both funny and sad. It's disturbing... and yet, it's extremely provocative and deep. The film is an extraordinary achievement that reveals a tragic and realistic story about a family that is anything but ordinary. It's a film with so many layers that it is almost impossible to dissect them all in one single...
Published on 10 Feb 2004 by Michael Crane

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Blu-ray or DVD
Like all the reviews this is a great film. I already have this on DVD but I thought I get a HD copy on Blu-ray. Straight to the point, I was disappointed in the quality. Its still grainy!
Save yourself the money and get the DVD, you wont be missing out.
Published 24 months ago by J. Hardman


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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantasic Interpretation of Surburban America, 17 Nov 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: American Beauty [DVD] [2000] (DVD)
What a film... WHAT A FILM.
The americans complained about this film as it made them look bad as it portraits american to run a sad life of lineararity and utmost unenvyous lifestyle.
If you think your life is a little mondane then get this film to cheer you up. The end is fantastic... you are in shock as you know what is goint to happen... then you get another shock when your completly wrong... then you get yet another shock when you realise the tragic end of the film... Utter Classic
Kevin Spacey is Superb... the scene where he works in a burger bar ... is so funny. I worked there as a student and its spot on. Oooohhhhhhhhhh have I tempted you... go one buy it... you won't be disappointed
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This film is very good -- honest!, 31 Dec 2000
I watch plenty of films - and I must say not many of them make an impression on me, but there again who am I? (I don't know who are you?) But saying that - American Beauty is a TOP CLASS film which caught my attention from the start to the end. The plot is twisted and hilarious and will captivate you from the start.
An amazing film is made even better by an interesting music score which slowly creates familiarity with a musical theme that becomes infectious and hipnotic. Good show old chap!!!
I love this film, and there's not many that I'd say that about.
Watch the film - I'm suprised whenever I here of someone that didn't like it (but there are some).
Maybe I'm just a zero.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Why is the avg. rating only 4 stars?, 4 Oct 2000
By A Customer
I just had to write a comment in order to change the average rating from 4 stars to 5 stars as it is insulting that the most daring movie made lately receives such a low score... Spacey takes on the role of someone who is just as repressed in society as all of us are and decides to do something about it! He decides to go back to the dreamlife of teenage years, smoking marijuana and fantasizing about scoring with the sexiest girl... he not only has this role, he becomes this man! he does it so well i feel like anyone who ever wished that their life isnt what they want anymore they should watch this movie and change! Life should be lived not completed! cheers...
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Cinematographic Brilliance!, 2 Aug 2011
By 
Anurup Mitra "Anurup" (India) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I am neither inclined nor qualified to do a film review, but I can say that the audio and video quality is great (especially on Blu-Ray) as is the acting from the entire cast.

As an Indian, I had great fun laughing at the "antics" of the Americans. As a human being acutely aware of my own shortcomings and peculiarities, I identified with the characters and their individual stories in the movie and lived their lives vicariously.

In my opinion there is not a poor shot or a loose end in the film. The tying together of all the sub-plots is superb. I have always believed that the director makes or breaks a movie - so hats off to Sam Mendes. American Beauty is as far away from "formula films" as possible but he manages to pull it off with elan.

The movie stays with you long after it is over. You will be left wondering about the reactions and the future fates of the various people around Lester Burnham.

I have seen this film before and I can say that I will watch it again in future.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars matures in the mind after viewing, 30 Nov 2000
By A Customer
If Shakespeare were to have made a film it would be this one. Although I thought it was a good film at first I was slightly disappointed at first considering the amount of raving about it. This was mainly because I didn't fully understand the point of the film at first but as it gradually dawned on me, The full scale of the film's dramatic genius hit me. Not since citizen Kane (and a few Woody Allens) has a film so brilliantly laid bare the intricacies of the human soul. Its a shame that several of the reviewers have missed the point as well- it will go down as a landmark in grown up cinema and in drama circles generally.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A mesmerizing experience for both mind and soul, 17 May 2003
By 
Daniel Jolley "darkgenius" (Shelby, North Carolina USA) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: American Beauty [DVD] [2000] (DVD)
American Beauty is not one of those movies you simply watch and quickly forget, and it’s awfully hard to review. Only once have I walked away in mid-review, feeling quite unable to do a subject justice, but I am ready now to start again and offer my own thoughts on this extraordinary film. You know a film is something special when you wonder so many people could possibly like it. I think American Beauty can justifiably be called quite weird, and the treatment of subjects such as a relationship between a forty-two-year-old man and a seventeen-year-old girl, complete family dysfunctionality, and murder most foul doesn’t normally result in critical as well as box office success, not to mention such honors as Best Picture awards. One thing this movie certainly has going for it is its shockingly original nature; no one had made a movie quite like this before. What strikes me as really quite amazing is the fact that, despite all the buzz about this movie, I still had little idea of what to expect once I finally watched it for myself. Then there is the talented cast; I can take or leave Kevin Spacey, and I do not like Annette Bening, but I can’t deny their talents; I will admit that Mena Suvari was a prime motivator in my own initial attraction to this movie, though. All told, each member of the cast gave a brilliant performance. Then there is the incredible musical score, as well as the mesmerizing cinematography. Of course, the heart of American Beauty is its story.
The characters in this film are all living lives of quiet (sometimes not so quiet) desperation, and that is the source of the appeal to so many people. Today’s reality is unreality. Some individuals might think they want nothing more than a normal life, but I believe that, deep down, no one wants to be ordinary. Everyone wants to find a meaning for his/her life, even those who convince themselves otherwise. Who of us is really happy? American Beauty helps us acknowledge our own dreams of meaning and understanding, while at the same time it offers a level of comfort to those of us conscious of our unfulfilling lives. The characters in this film come off as quite real, albeit a surreal form of real, and they are screwed up more than we are. Lester Burnham even succeeds in finding a part of what he has been missing all his life, although that incredibly victorious moment is cut short at the end. No one is whom they claim to be here, each character hiding secrets that are ultimately brought to light in the hypnotizing final moments; there are some significant revelations that many viewers may not anticipate. These characters aren’t truly fake, however; they are just unhappy. While all of this intense emotional drama could well afflict the viewer with something akin to depression, American Beauty somehow manages to deliver a message of, if not hope then at least understanding and mutual sympathy, supporting us with many moments of dark comedy along the way, holding our hands down the long passage to the ultimate door of revelation. And it is the most troubled individual of all who shows us that there is beauty in even the ugliest of circumstances, if we will just stop and look for it.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars brilliant, 5 Mar 2003
By 
I. J. Mclachlan "i_mclachlan" - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
the first time i saw this i wondered if it wasn't too slick. second time round, the slickness didn't seem to matter. contains superb performances all round and an outstanding script. it's funny, true and, right from the beginning, pretty subversive. anyone who's ever been a temp will have cheered when the Spacey character points out to the burger bar manager that he has burger flipping experience.
this is a didactic film too. in this film the bag matters! the message would seem to be that the way to live life is to drift on it, like the bag, to let life carry you, rather than impose your will on it. this is the philosophy that the Spacey character embraces and the film demonstrates him to be an enlightened man - he puts other people's needs before his own; and he's seriously chilled out!
the damage that occurs in the film comes from people who are too busy trying to impose their own will on life. they have forced their lives out of shape by this act, which seems to have occurred out of a desire to meet the expectations of society. the prime example is the army bloke who has bent his will on denying his sexual nature.
Spacey's character's wife also tries to impose her will on life and we're shown that she's wrong to do so - she takes gun classes, cops off with a man called CAINE, and returns home with a gun in the car. her attempts to control her environment bring damage to herself and potentially to others. the portrait of her as the crazy girl before she got obsessed with home furnishings and material success is much more sympathetic.
deeply serious then as well as being entertaining, this is a brilliant piece of film-making.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Look closer., 21 Mar 2007
This review is from: American Beauty [DVD] [2000] (DVD)
I decided to 'review' this film after reading the 1-starred reviews and other rants against American Beauty. Whilst there is obviously a degree of opinion involved in judging a film, I fail to see how anyone can rate this film to such a low extent.

This is why American Beauty is probably one of the top 5 films you will ever see or know.

It is real. Infact, it is so real, but you cannot help but relate to all the characters. "But I'm not a stressed worker, a mad wife, a grumpy teenager, and psycho who films paper bags or an ex-army bigoted patriot." OK, you're not, but 'look closer' and you will realise that you can relate to at least ONE trait from at least ONE character in the film.

And finally, and most importantly of all; post-modernism. This is the best part about this incredible film. According to American Beauty, and indeed society, life is now post-modern. And this is what is so sad yet beautiful about this film. There is now past or future to relate to, because everything is the perpetual present. Lester desperately tries to recapture his youth but he can't.

There is a loss of critical distance by Lester, and the semiotics have become more important than the car itself. He has just quit his job in order to live his life to the full, or in postmodern terms, reaching for the nostalgia to recreate his 'authentic' youth. He purchases a Cadillac car, and when his wife Carolyn points out that he is about to spill beer on her designer couch that has been "upholstered in Italian silk"; he retorts "It's just a couch!" What is interesting is that he cannot see that he himself has lost all critical distance, and is indeed himself part of a commodified culture due to his own purchase and does not realise the extent to which extent American culture has been characterised by commodification. The transaesthetics of Lester's nature (ie he doesn't realise / prefers the fake) that he himself is equally materialistic and part of the commodification process that he slammed his wife for in regard to her "italian silk" sofas) show that he cannot and will not be able to capture those moments he longs for again.

The surbaban travesty continues, with Carolyn's obsession with materialism and social status simply magnify her empty personality and lack of 'real' life. Jane's depression and feeling of lack of individuality, desperately wanting to become a copy of a copy (by looking at breast enlargements). Mina Suvari's character of a Burbank girl obsessed with looks just adds to the sadness of the film.

So with the above in mind, the numb factors hit you sideways. The paper-bag flowing in the wind? No, not some hippy manifestation, but a simple cold hard look at life and what priorities are. Paper-bag in wind vs. materialistic designer/celebrity handbags that belong to the residents of the Holmby Hills. The music simply quadrouples the effect, especially with Lester's thoughts at the end and Jane and her nextdoor neighbour walking home together.

It is also a satire on modern-day obesseion with celebrity lifestyle, and is poking fun at the tall decaffe skinny latte stay at home moms. And for those people who don't get it? Look closer.
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19 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Middle-aged crazy, 31 Dec 2003
By 
Dennis Littrell (SoCal/NorCal/Maui) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
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.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sheer brilliance will always be invisible to some..., 17 Feb 2001
By 
BRIDGES (MARKET RASEN, LINCS United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
This review is from: American Beauty [DVD] [2000] (DVD)
....'American Beauty' is rich and thoughtful. A gorgeous mix of beautiful camera work, a wonderful study of human behaviour, an intricate weave of themes: this film can delight the viewer time after time. Intelligent and amusing in an original way. Those that hate it have missed something special about 'American Beauty'.
Make no mistake, this film is pure genius. Not everyone will be able to appreciate it, especially if they're expecting something else. Relax. Watch. Be enchanted.
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American Beauty [DVD] [2000]
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