AMERICAN BEAUTY (1999)
DIR: Sam Mendes
Finally, it is time to review one of my personal favorites. This is one of those basically perfect films from start to finish. I myself am always a fan of a black comedy, and this film’s comedic moments are perfectly timed and sarcastic; played against the serious subjects of (almost) complete pedophilia, teen troubles, homophobia, cheating, marriage problems, and family struggles. Anyone can relate to some aspect of this story, especially teenagers when it comes to dating struggles, worries about appearances, feeling left out and misunderstood, and the mundane feel of suburban life.
Kevin Spacey is a brilliant actor who fits the role of Lester Burnham perfectly. He encapsulates the trend of 1990s men in film tired of their careers and looking for something new in their lives. Annette Bening also puts on a stunning performance of a neurotic, slightly crazed, and emotional woman. It’s completely believable to where you feel like you’ve met a suburban mom like this before. Her losing Best Actress was very much an upset. Of course, Mena Suvari is a stunning choice for the Angela part. Chris Cooper as Frank Fitts is frighteningly realistic.
I fell in love with this film from the first time I watched it. Which was in 2014, in November, while I was wrapping Christmas presents. A strange holiday choice, sure, but I had heard it was good and wanted to give it a go. I fell in love with the actors and the many beautiful shots. It made me emotional. It made me tear up. The idiosyncrasies of suburban life seemed so realistic to me. The story both charmed and saddened me.
It is more than deserving of the Best Picture, Best Actor (Kevin Spacey), and Best Director Oscars it received (because yes, it is wonderfully directed, too.) It will make you laugh, charm you, make you emotional, and pull at your heart from the story alone. The amazing details and technical marvels are merely a bonus.
So go ahead and Look Closer into a new movie. You’ll be happy you did.