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American Beauty

Essay by   •  February 27, 2012  •  Book/Movie Report  •  461 Words (2 Pages)  •  1,548 Views

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American beauty is a movie about contemporary people in a family and as an individual. American beauty has won many academy awards including best picture. The movie demonstrated a variety of social and psychological points.

The Burnham's seem to have good jobs, a beautiful home in the suburbs, cars, and children. Carolyn Burnham is overly obsessed with material items and people's opinion about them. Carolyn loves her possessions and feels that they are equal to her success. In one of the scenes in the movie, her husband Lester tries to kiss her and show her that they can still be passionate. As he draws closer to Carolyn, she notices that he is about to spill beer on the couch and interrupts him. Lester yells at her saying "it's just a couch!" Carolyn tells him that it is an Italian silk and it cost $4000. Carolyn also portrays materialism to her daughter Jane. She yells at Jane for not appreciating the possessions she has. Carolyn views material items as the central meaning of happiness.

Carolyn believes that appearing to be successful is the most important thing in life. She tries to be happy through her real estate career. In the movie, she has a time where she is unable to sell a home. Carolyn begins to mentally and physically abuse herself by crying, yelling and slapping herself in the face. Earlier that day, she was cleaning the house and was trying feed her self-esteem by saying "I will sell this house today." Angela Hayes seems to be the perfect teen that everyone hates but in actuality she has a very low self-esteem. Inside, she is scared and torn and constantly criticizes others for being plain, which she feels is her defect. Colonel Fitts served in the military, lives a decent life and rejects homosexuals. He thinks that Lester and his son are having an affair. The colonel goes to see Lester and kisses him, revealing that he is a homosexual himself. These three characters portray appearance versus reality. The unhappy they are, the more they cover their personal realities.

Denial is another item portrayed in the movie. Colonel Fitts is in denial about his sexuality. Carolyn is in denial not being fulfilled by her career, possessions, or success. Angela denies she feels unattractive and insecure by criticizing other people. Lester is in denial about his life being dull and attempts to change it in the movie.

Many characters in the movie are lonely and feel unconnected to others. Lester was alone in the shower, the car, and in the garage. Carolyn was alone at her job and the car. The characters have problems connecting emotionally to others and the relationships they have seemed to be getting worse.



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