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American Beauty (1999)

Drama | 122 minutes
4,08 7.781 votes

Genre: Drama

Duration: 122 minuten

Country: United States

Directed by: Sam Mendes

Stars: Kevin Spacey, Annette Bening and Thora Birch

IMDb score: 8,3 (1.215.328)

Releasedate: 15 September 1999

American Beauty plot

"Look closer."

To the outside world, Lester Burnham (Kevin Spacey) seems to have a perfect life: a nice house, a good job, a beautiful wife, and a lovely daughter. In reality, however, Lester falls into a deeper and deeper depression: the relationship with his wife is low, he hardly ever talks with his daughter, and he is more than tired of his job. When he comes into contact with his new neighbor, he learns to appreciate life again: he stops working, becomes infatuated with a friend of his daughter, starts smoking weed again, and starts training.

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Full Cast & Crew

Actors and actresses

Lester Burnham

Carolyn Burnham

Jane Burnham

Ricky Fitts

Angela Hayes

Colonel Frank Fitts

Barbara Fitts

Jim Olmeyer

Jim Berkley

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avatar van IH88


  • 8866 messages
  • 3105 votes

“My name is Lester Burnham. this is my neighborhood; this is my street; this is my life. I am 42 years old; in less than a year I will be dead. Of course I don't know that yet, and in a way, I am dead already.”

What a brilliant movie. Sam Mendes magnificently exposes the souls of some of the characters here and reveals what lies behind the apparently happy facade. American Beauty is set in a good residential area where all the local residents seem to live happily. But once behind the front door...

Kevin Spacey is peerless and Lester's adventures are at the heart of the film. Unhappy with everything in his life, he decides to do everything differently, with all the consequences that entails. In the beginning it is still very funny but Mendes changes tone effortlessly and it gets darker and more dramatic (without letting go of that black humor completely, really clever). The movie looks fantastic and there are some unparalleled scenes in it. I was breathlessly watching a scene like with that flying plastic bag. Amazingly beautiful with the music too. All the other actors were also excellent with Bening and Bentley being the outliers. American Beauty remains a masterpiece.

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avatar van jordorientje


  • 477 messages
  • 419 votes

Well, I don't really know what to make of it. It wasn't a bad movie, but not that I'm totally blown away either. I got the message, but that's all. I even found it a bit boring and uninteresting. I watched it, but if you ask me what I've been watching: pff no idea, special film. And I do like it apart, but this wasn't for me.

Kevin Spacey's acting is fine and the film is otherwise well put together, but it didn't leave an impression on me and I wouldn't recommend him to anyone.

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avatar van Onderhond


  • 87281 messages
  • 12085 votes

Stays strong.

Despite the fact that the film has had to lose some critical support, American Beauty continues to score high. Probably that the "average" audience is a little less annoyed by the somewhat cynical humor that nowadays would no longer pass the critical censorship.

About 20 years later, the film is a little less special than when I first saw it. In the meantime I have also seen an extra 10K films, that certainly plays a role, but the film itself is also a bit outdated here and there. Although Mendes continues to choose his moments, which stand out remarkably in terms of cinematography and soundtrack.

Acting is also very strong, with a career-defining role for Spacey. It's also nice that the film does hold up an index finger here and there, but doesn't take it too seriously either, with an ending that goes over the top and offers nice cinema. So, still a strong film.

4.0* and a extended review

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