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American Beauty

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Essay title: American Beauty

American Beauty tells the story of one man's search for happiness. The film introduces the audience to Lester Burnham, an ordinary- looking married man and father in his forties. Lester is in a loveless marriage. Lester's wife, Carolyn, is so wrapped-up in her real estate career that Lester often claims that Carolyn doesn't even acknowledge him. Furthermore, Lester's daughter, Jane, is completely distant, often claiming how "pathetic" she thinks her father is. Moreover, Lester has dedicated fourteen years to his occupation, and suddenly, he is in danger of losing his job due to downsizing. All of these factors dramatically effect Lester and culminate into feelings of desperation and vulnerability for him. Lester is therefore in search of an escape and a rebirth. He is seeking the slightest possibility of happiness. Throughout the story Lester is consistently reminiscing on his past; wishing he could have it back. In the beginning portions of the story, Lester, as the narrator, states that "it is never too late to regain your past." The catalyst to this frame of thought is Jane's friend, Angela. Lester feels excited by the thought that a teen-age girl thinks he is "hot." Lester overhears Angela state that she would have sex with him if Lester would start working-out and build-up his body. This drives Lester to change himself completely. Lester, in desperate search of happiness , finds an escape in Angela.

In life, everyone must make choices. Choices give an individual the freedom to decide the path which they will follow. In the movie American Beauty, each of the characters has a choice he or she needs to make. The main character, Lester Burnham, is faced with many choices that could either lead to his ultimate happiness or draw him further into his despair. Carolyn Burnham, Lester's wife, is faced with a loveless marriage that exists only because she does not possess the willingness to break the cycle. This cycle involves protecting their daughter by staying married. In reality, children of a marriage such as this are often the biggest victims of this sham. Jane Burnham is Lester and Carolyn's daughter. She is caught between the two of them, and her decision is to tune her parents out. Ricky Fitts, the boy next door, makes his choice of knowing when to cooperate with his father. Ricky's dad, Colonel Fitts, makes his choice of finally admitting of his sexual preference. Angela Hayes, Jane's friend, makes her choice of losing her virginity to Lester. Each character has to learn how to deal with his or her own problems.

Lester Burnham is in a state of despair. Lester's dull and monotonous voice introduces the audience to his daily routine of life. At the age of 42 he has become sympathetic to everything. He realizes that his family life is the "pits" as he becomes aware that both his wife and daughter consider him a gigantic loser.

American Beauty depicts modern dysfunctional families that appear to be happy on the outside, while on the inside they have tremendous deep-rooted problems. The movie begins to show many Freudian psychotic traits when unhappy Lester Burnham loses his job and begins a stereotypical male mid-life crisis by buying a red sports car, smoking marijuana, exercising maniacally, and fantasizing about younger women. He lusts after his daughter Jane's best friend a beautiful blond named Angela. Angela is really a virgin although she lies continually about sexual encounters with many men. She lusts after Lester as well (or so she says), and makes no attempt to hide the fact that she loves the father image in him. At the end of the movie when Lester gets his opportunity to take advantage of Angela's infatuation, he can't go through with it. He realizes that she is not the experienced woman she has made herself out and that he has envisioned her to be and she actually reminds him of his own daughter.

In life, everyone must make choices. Choices give an individual the freedom to decide upon the path to which they will follow. Since it’s beginnings, the film making industry has focused on showing the direct relationship between the choices that people make and the resulting consequences they must face. In the movie American Beauty, the character of Lester Burnham must make many important choices that could either lead to his ultimate happiness, or draw him further into his despair.

In the movie American Beauty, it is evident that Lester Burnham is in a state of despair. Lester’s dull and monotonous voice introduces the audience to his daily routine of life. When Lester declares plain and simply, “This is my neighborhood, this is my street, this is my life,” he exposes the lifelessness and unhappiness to which he has become accustomed. The hopeless tone that Lester has set continues when he cynically

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