On the Queue: “American Beauty”

If you have no other options, there are no kids in the room and you are willing to be sad all night, then watch “American Beauty.”

“American Beauty” was recommended to me by a work friend. So, it’s Thursday night and I am searching through Netflix, and I remember the recommendation. After seeing the movie, I will never think of my friend the same way. It’s just one of those movies.

“American Beauty” is about dysfunction. It satirizes the American dream. A family consisting of a mother, father and daughter fall into ruin due to the lack of communication, mutual sexual desire and following prescribed roles.

The film contains everything horrific, including affairs, drugs, abusive parents and pedophilic desire. If you aren’t sad yet, slap on some creepy neighbors, homophobia and extreme vanity.

However, this does not mean the movie was all bad. It did have a few redeeming qualities.

For example, the acting was not awful; some of the actors are actually quite famous. “American Beauty” stars Kevin Spacey from now-popular “House of Cards.” Co-stars include Annette Bening, Allison Janney and Chris Cooper — all familiar faces.

In addition, the overall message of the movie was thought provoking, reminding one to find beauty in everyday living and to take control of life. A poignant scene in the movie sums up the meaning — a plastic bag blowing in the wind. At this point of the movie I broke into the song, “Do you every feel like a plastic bag / drifting through the wind / wanting to start again?” Sadly, “American Beauty” was made in 1999, a.k.a. pre Katy Perry’s “Firework.” Therefore, I had to sing solo and provide my own comic relief for the movie.

A final plus to the movie is that it built suspense. Granted, it takes about 45 minutes for the interest to hook. But after 45 minutes, there was no way I was turning it off. Each mind-warping twist compelled me to keep watching to the end. Then I got there and found it unsatisfying and unsurprisingly sad.

“American Beauty” has its positives, yet is outweighed by its overall negative mood. Though if you are feeling down and need a reminder of the beauty of life, the movie is worth a watch . . . or just scream-along to Katy Perry’s “Firework,” get the same message and feel uplifted.

Photo courtesy of cbarbosaa.wordpress.com


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