American Beauty Vs The Bicycle Thief Essay

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American Beauty Vs. The Bicycle Thief Essay, Research Paper Roxane Simenson Intro. to Film Jim Mcgonigle Film Analysis American Beauty vs. The Bicycle Thief In American Beauty Kevin Spacey who plays Lester lives a typical middle class life with his family. His wife is having an affair, his rebellious daughter doesn?t talk to him and his neighbors are psycho. In contrast The Bicycle Thief portrays a tight family. Riccis wife loves him, his behaved son talks to him and his neighbors are helpful when a crises occurs. In both of these films the main characters, Lester and Ricci, go through what I call a responsibility stage. Both must make a life changing experience, either good or bad, that will have an effect on the people around them. Lester decides to make a few changes in

his rut of life, changes that are less mid-life and more adolescence like.1 While he slowly goes through these changes on film one can see that the more responsibility he gives up the more happy he becomes. What he gives up to make him happy, though, only makes his family more hateful towards him. It isn?t that he gave up his responsibilities to improve his relationship with his daughter or improve it with his wife but to be selfish and gratify himself from what he lost when he was young. He does reckless and foolish things in this movie, but he doesn?t deceive himself, he knows he?s running wild–and choose to..2 He let these feelings over power him and he almost let this irresponsibility get the best of him when he found himself alone with his daughters best friend. It?s

perfectly natural to have feelings like he has toward her but there came a time with him when he saw what he was going to do was not right. So he refrained and actually gained a friend. (After he has been losing people left and right) His ability to refrain from his actions made him a stronger person in the eyes of Angela, his daughters best friend. Unlike Lester, Riccio, from The Bicycle Thief , does not have a job. His main concern, like that of an adolescent who needs money, is to get a job. His responsibility is towards his family. He is in a constant state of depression because nothing ever goes his way. His family is supportive unlike Lesters. But his desire for responsibility is driven by class and economic need.3 So his desire to get the bike back that was stolen from him

turns into a family and friend hunt. His son Bruno is with him through the entire search. Finally Ricci decides he has had enough of looking for the bike and says to his son, ? You live you suffer, to hell with it. You want a pizza?? This kind of attitude made me think that he was over being mad at the person who stole it and they might as well just make the best of what was left of the day with each other. But when they are eating he notices what the other people are eating. He said to his son who also noticed that, ?You need a million yire to eat like that.? Which sparked back up in him the hateful feelings toward the person who stole his bike. Instead of being the better person, like Lester was with Angela, Ricci lets his anguish get the best of him and steals someone else?s

bike. He let down his moral obligation towards his son when he decided to do this. His son realized this and kept asking him, ?Why daddy?? Unlike Lester, Ricci did not gain any respect, he lost the respect of everyone and his irresponsibility made him weak in the eyes of his son. Both Lester and Ricci live in a world were they are constantly being judge by society and people close to them. In The Bicycle Thief Ricci and his son are a church with the homeless of Rome. Although they are middle class their rugged clothes make them look like they are homeless and need food and that is how the people around them treat them. They say to Ricci and his son, ?soup will be served after the sermon please sit down until then.? In American Beauty Lester is at a cheesy Realtors conference with