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After winning a beauty contest in Texas, a teen-aged girl is unprepared for the demands of travel, press conferences and interviews that go with winning the title and participating in a national beauty pageant.
It begins with Lester Burnham (Kevin Spacey) as he introduces us to his life and tells us he’ll be dead in a year’s time, although he doesn’t know it. This is where the movie breaks free of its own resolute churning of cliches about gender and American mores. However, the scene still embodies a basic unifying, thing-orientated projection shared by Ricky, Jane and ultimately, Lester (in fact, you could maintain that Lester is the plastic bag, since he becomes one with that animate, divine principle of which Ricky has spoken earlier.
When Lester decides to get his life back from the abysmal hole it’s being sucked into, he quits his job and blackmails his boss into giving him a severance package. Carolyn starts an affair with business rival, Buddy Kane (Peter Gallagher), and spends her afternoons screwing him before taking up gun practice to let off any remaining frustration left inside her. They go from one irresponsible and extreme decision to the next, hoping to fill the miserable void in their lives without knowing how it got there in the first place. Ever since the first time I saw American Beauty, I found myself captivated by what Ricky said when he showed Jane his video.
Whereas they see their weaknesses and insecurities as ugly parts of themselves and they put on a show for those around them, Ricky sees something else. Sometimes that’s all that’s missing; we forget to stop, look around and remember there’s so much beauty around us. Lester finds it, though he could’ve found it a lot sooner, but like he said, it’s never too late. It’s an incredible and life affirming film that holds a mirror up to society, forcing it to look at itself and see how ugly it’s become…forcing us to look at ourselves and see what we’ve become. The founder of Static Mass Emporium and one of its Editors in Chief is a composer and music producer with a philosophy degree. Jesse’s Lost Journal was conceived as my subtext writings while making Nightmare on Elm Street 2. If you are passionate not only about watching movies but also about writing, we would love to hear from you! Static Mass Emporium is a UK-based independent film journal which looks at a broad range of work from the industry.


With research grounded in modern cinema, film theory, sociology, history and filmosophy, our approach is to explore the essence of film.
We are a nonprofit publication free of advertising — sustained entirely by its readers, fans and supporters. He’s 42 years old and stuck in a loveless, sexless marriage with estate agent Carolyn (Annette Bening). Frank Fitts (Chris Cooper) is a retired Colonel and homophobe who tries to run things at home the same way he did in the army.
It shows that, more importantly, Ricky supplies yet another rendition of beauty, one diametrically opposed to the renditions set forth by Carolyn, Lester, the gay Jim and Jim, Angela, or Ricky’s own father (whose piece of Nazi flatware is his vision of aesthetic beauty). When the married couple sit down to dinner, the tension’s so thick even a knife won’t cut it. Even Buddy admits his perfect life is just a show; his wife’s just left him and he too is running low on self esteem. Things start to get complicated all round when Frank gets the wrong idea about Ricky and Lester. What’s left to see is whether or not in those final moments he finds the thing that’s been missing from his life.
His way of looking at the world is the complete moral opposite of Lester, Carolyn, Buddy, Frank and Angela’s.
He thinks the masks they wear are what’s ugly, like Angela’s painted face; her smile doesn’t compare to Jane’s because it’s part of the lie she’s projecting about herself. If we could just let go of all the things we think we need we need, and the notions we feel we have to conform to, maybe we’d see it too. American Beauty also tells us there’s more to our lives than we think; we just have to look closer and see the beauty that’s hiding. We look forward to receiving articles between 700 and 1,500 words, submitted as a Word document.
Many of us fee emptier on the inside than we’ve ever felt at any other time in our lives before, so what’s the deal?
Alan Ball’s brilliantly written screenplay told so much about the American middleclass and how appearances can be deceiving.


They have a daughter, Jane (Thora Birch), but she’s can’t stand him because he turns into an idiot when her best friend Angela (Mena Suvari) is around. Carolyn constantly strides for perfection but is never anywhere near achieving it; especially when she doesn’t sell any houses.
His son Ricky (Wes Bentley) is terrified of him and although he has to submit to a urine test every six months to prove he’s drug free, he sells pot to make money on the side.
In Ricky’s radically different vision of life, the emphasis falls on beauty itself, pure and very simple, free of its often grotesque American incrustations.
His entire manner changes and he’s no longer the husband Carolyn can boss around, bark at and humiliate. When they’re honest, like Jane is, that’s when they’re at their most vulnerable and beautiful and that’s why he likes to film; to capture and remember the beauty of life. A fan of film classics, documentaries and World Cinema, Patrick prefers films with an impeccable way of storytelling that reflect on the human condition.
Brought to life by Sam Mendes’ direction and a stellar cast, including a breakthrough performance by a young Wes Bentley, it’s nothing less than what its title suggests. Ricky likes to film things and even though Jane’s a little scared of him at first, she’s drawn to him and the way he looks at life.
Ricky’s sentiments will later be reflected on from beyond by Lester in his farewell speech, making this scene a pivotal one in the film, As Anker notes in Catching Light: Looking For God In The Movies. He also continues to fantasise about Angela; could she be the thing he’s missing in his life? Unknown to any of them, Ricky’s upstairs asking Jane to run away with him and when Angela tries to stop them, she gets a few home truths thrown her way.



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