American Beauty Critique Essay Research Paper American

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American Beauty Critique Essay, Research Paper American Beauty critique American Beauty directed by Sam Mendes won the Academy Award for the Best Original Screenplay and the Best Picture Award. Film critics restrained from clear-cut negative reviews, only ocassionally pointing out weaknesses of the the plot or the shallowness of main themes of the picture. The money invested in realization of this film certainly paid back yielding a high level of return (just in U.S.A. 130 million dollars). To cut a long story short, this Hollywood production seems to be a great success. The choice of the subjects itself (grotesque depiction of American middle-class society) attracts the viewer s attention. The subtopics pursued in the film, namely beauty, work and repression, make it even

more admirable. It obviously stands out from the mainstream of American cinema industry, still the scriptwriter and the director did not manage to steer clear of employing certain typical hollywood stereotypes and bias. The first of subcurrents worth tracing in the film is the pursuit of beauty. As a matter of fact, it is rather yearning for the authentic beauty, which, here, is substituted with the fake glitter of luxuries, cash and dispensable objects. All the characters except Ricky Fitts (Wes Bentley), who is the only genuine character, and Lester Burnham seem utterly oblivious to the bliss of the true life. Ricky assumes a stance of a simple viewer who possessed the faculty of insight into the substance of things. Thus he can see through the ugliness to reach the core and to

experience metaphisical transcendence in contact with authentic beauty. Inquiring mind cannot fail to notice Emersonian overtones present in such an approach towards beauty. Emerson ,the luminary of American transcendentalism, praises simple pereception of beauty (Emerson 1012) as the only valid way to unbolt the doors of consciousness, which, actually, is a method of insight Ricky exercised. The author of Nature also directs our attetion to the spiritual aspect of beauty which allows a sensitive man to feel a momentary, faint sensation of an overwhelming …incredibly benevolent force, that wanted [him] to know there was no reason to be afraid. Ever. (Ball. The script). So this reclusive, introverted, mental boy turns out to be a kind a modern prophet. His external, superficial

madness is a catalyst which helps him achieve the state of personal autheticity. Another topic permeating the picture is work and relationships among contemporary upper middle-class comunity. Two protagonists require closer scrutiny in the context of work discourse, namely Lester nad Carolyn. Having been in a groove for half of his life it eventually dawns on Lester how miserable life he had led so far and he tries to fix it and get a grip on his life. He frees himself from the job he hates, he liberates from the social convetions and preconceptions. Lester s aversion for his work is luciudly explained in Erich Fromm s article Work in alienated society . Fromm, an acknowledged German psychologist, proves that dislike for work and hostility among workers is rooted in the process

of single procedure repetition excluding any creativity or spontaneity on the side of workers. As for Carolyne, her feigned existence is just a poor imitation of the dream of beautiful and happy life. She gets infatuated with Buddy, the real estate king, in whom she sees model projection of the ever succesful image she craves for so much. Due to her hypocrisy, the Burnham s family life turns a parody of a healthy family bonds. Whereas Carolyne is a relatively flat character and we do not expect her evolve, Lester undergoes a total reversal. From a frustrated, ageing bore, he changes into a modern pseudo-hippie smoking pot and pumping iron. Whether we fall for this transformastion or consider it lame and implausible is a matter of personal approach. Nevertheless, the example of