American Beauty

"Extraordinary"

American Beauty Review


At last, a movie with no likable characters that is nothing short of a joy to watch. Let's see if American Psycho can top that!

American Beauty chronicles the last year in the life of 42 year-old hack magazine writer Lester Burnham (Spacey), a suburban loser that has just about had it with his humdrum life and decides to make a few changes to regain control, for better or for worse. Those changes include quitting his job and blackmailing his employers, buying a vintage Firebird, taking a new job at the local fast food joint, buying thousands of dollars worth of pot, and plotting to sleep with his daughter's best friend (Suvari, the good girl from American Pie, playing the bad girl here).

If you think he's gone over the edge, wait until you get a load of his Realtor wife (Bening, playing an evil Martha Stewart - okay, a more evil Martha Stewart). Or the daughter (Birch), a zoned-out basket of angst. Or their neighbors, headed by a stern ex-Marine (Cooper) and his pleasant but quietly psychotic drug-dealer son (Bentley). Everyone here is a creep, and it's delicious to watch them play off one another - think of it as an updating of The Ice Storm to 1999.

The joy of Beautylies in its brilliantly drawn characters, great dialogue, flawless acting by all the players, and a clever voice-over by Spacey that, for once, adds quite a bit to the picture. For example, we're told at the beginning that Lester is going to die. While the black comedy unfolds for two hours, we struggle to figure out exactly how he's going to go. Obviously, someone is going to kill him. But who, and how? The genius of the script is that it could be anyone who does it.

Oscar nominations are deserved universally for the cast and crew, and I hope American Beautyis neither forgotten at Awards time nor at the box office. This is a rare and outstanding film that deserves attention and will challenge some heady competition for a place as the best film of the year.

Suvari on high.



American Beauty

Facts and Figures

Genre: Dramas

Run time: 122 mins

In Theaters: Friday 1st October 1999

Box Office Worldwide: $356.3M

Budget: $15M

Distributed by: Dream Works

Production compaines: DreamWorks Pictures, Jinks/Cohen Company

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 4.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 88%
Fresh: 148 Rotten: 20

IMDB: 8.5 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Starring: as Lester Burnham, as Carolyn Burnham, as Jane Burnham, as Ricky Fitts, as Angela Hayes, as Colonel Frank Fitts, as Jim Olmeyer, as Buddy Kane, as Barbara Fitts, as Jim Berkley, Barry Del Sherman as Brad Dupree

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Colossal Movie Review

Colossal Movie Review

It's rare to find a movie that so defiantly refuses to be put into a...

King Arthur: Legend of the Sword Movie Review

King Arthur: Legend of the Sword Movie Review

It's unlikely that Guy Ritchie could make a boring movie if he wanted to. This...

Snatched Movie Review

Snatched Movie Review

It doesn't really matter that the script for this lively action-comedy is paper thin: teaming...

Jawbone Movie Review

Jawbone Movie Review

Boxing movies aren't usually this thoughtful. Sure, there are plenty of punchy moments in the...

Whisky Galore! Movie Review

Whisky Galore! Movie Review

Scottish filmmaker Gillies MacKinnon (Hideous Kinky) remakes the 1949 Ealing comedy classic, although it's difficult...

Alien: Covenant Movie Review

Alien: Covenant Movie Review

Master filmmaker Ridley Scott is back to continue the story 10 years after the events...

The Journey (2017) Movie Review

The Journey (2017) Movie Review

A fictionalised account of real events, this drama is reminiscent of Peter Morgan's work in...

Advertisement
Sleepless Movie Review

Sleepless Movie Review

In remaking the 2011 French thriller Sleepless Night, the filmmakers have dumbed down both the...

Unlocked Movie Review

Unlocked Movie Review

By injecting a steady sense of fun, this slick but mindless action thriller both holds...

Lady Macbeth Movie Review

Lady Macbeth Movie Review

A seriously impressive feature directing debut with a star-making central performance, this period British drama...

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 Movie Review

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 Movie Review

It was never going to be easy to match the impact of 2014's Guardians of...

The Promise Movie Review

The Promise Movie Review

The director of Hotel Rwanda, Terry George, turns to another humanitarian horror: the systematic murder...

Their Finest Movie Review

Their Finest Movie Review

Skilfully written, directed and acted, this offbeat British period film tells a story that catches...

Unforgettable Movie Review

Unforgettable Movie Review

With heavy echoes of trashy thrillers like Fatal Attraction, this movie overcomes its painfully simplistic...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.