10 years of Flick Filosopher: lots of feedback for ‘American Beauty’
Few of my reviews have generated as much reader mail as my commentary on American Beauty, though to be fair, I think it’s the film itself that is so mind-blowing, not my simple analysis of it:
Then — in what appears at first to be typical Boomer midlife crisis form — Lester is awakened from his “20-year coma” by a newfound lust for Angela (Mena Suvari), Jane’s slutty, sex-crazed friend, a pouty blonde who plans on being a model. Though Lester’s daydreams about Angela have an almost old-fashioned sweetness about them, he’s still pretty disgusting, though Jane is the only one who seems to discern that; Angela, though she keeps her distance from Lester, thinks he’s “cute.” (The audience with whom I saw American Beauty unfortunately seemed to think Lester was pretty cool, as well.)
Looking back, I think we can see American Beauty as a sort of generational passing of the torch, as Boomer attitudes about success and conformity were starting to give way to a looser, more self-sufficient Xer outlook, which makes even more sense when you consider that Spacey is kinda on the cusp between Boomers and Xers, as is writer Alan Ball; director Sam Mendes is unquestionably an Xer.
• review of American Beauty, posted 10.03.99
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