Sunday, July 03, 2011

American Beauty

I watched another movie that had been on my list recently. It was American Beauty. I had heard of it in the past then it comes now and again the last 2-3 years on the forums.

The hero is a 42 year old man whose sleepy life and sexless marriage is jolted awake by a series of events. His dreary but high paying office job is threatened by a corporate downsizing, high school daughter brings around an attractive and flirty cheerleader friend who he becomes smitten with, new neighbours move in and their mysterious son begins seeing his daughter while selling the father drugs.

His wife is a successful real estate agent but constantly yearns for more success. In her drive she begins meeting the top agent in town the "king" and he's interested in more than talking about selling houses. It's strange because she doesn't seen to realize how successful she already is. Driving around in a Mercedes wagon, $4,000 couch, big suburban house. Unfortunately she misses this and is consumed in material pursuits. In one remarkable scene she tells her daughter that when she was in high school they were "in a duplex. We didn't even have a house". That's pretty crazy like there's something terrible about being in a duplex.

And so on the contemporary commentary goes. In another scene his daughter chooses to walk home from school with the neighbours son. Her cheerleader friend is shocked and mentions that it's "nearly a mile" from the high school.

The 42 year old hero experiences some personal growth. He doesn't fight for his job and is let go. Then he spends his severance on a sports car of his youth and takes a minimum wage fry cook job which was also from his youth. He finds some happiness in this excursion but the forces of the present collide to an interesting conclusion.

It was a good movie. I think I grasp and appreciate it more now than I might have in 1999 or say 2005. It was a thinking movie it has stayed with me a bit these last few days.

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