American Beauty (VHS, 2000, 2-Tape Set, Awards Edition)

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American Beauty: No beauty found in this film.

Jul 28, 2001 (Updated Jul 29, 2001)
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:Good Acting by Kevin Spacey

Cons:It misses the point, it's in love with itself too much

The Bottom Line: A movie that is in love with itself so much, that it missed the point of what it wants to be


This is one of the most difficult reviews I have ever had to write. First of all because this is a film everyone seems to love so much. But since I found the film to be below the perfection everyone else seemed to say it is, it's hard to argue against such a large crowd. This film has gotten so many positive reviews, that I was almost sure that I would like it before even seeing it. Maybe the multitude of praise made me hope for too much, only to be dissapointed in seeing a film that is trite and cliched. If you want to see a film just like this, in which I thought was alot better made, go see "The Ice Storm"

The film shot for such a high standard and seemed to just fall short. It was a film that seemed to be too much in love with itself that it hoped you would like it just because of the great acting and direction. Alas it is a film that also seemed to want to make a point and yet at the end no real point was made. It was going in the right direction and had so much that it could tell about, and it instead got caught up more in scenes of people masturbating and older men having sex with 17 year old girls. At first it seemed like a movie that would make you think and give you a feeling that there is some positive side to things. An example is of one of the best scenes in the movie, where a young man shows that he has video taped a bag flying around in the air. At that point I started to see a meaning to the movie and an idea of how beauty is really all around us in life. Instead of going on further with that great concept, the idea is abrubtly stopped and the two teenagers start making out on the bed. Is this a teen movie about sex is or is it a movie about hidden beauty that is all around us? The movie should have made up its mind whethere it wanted to be an artistic one or a teen flick. In the end, the filmmakers went for both, probably hoping for better box office reciepts but instead making a mess out of a good film.

The acting by Kevin Spacey is fantastic, his character is played to perfection. I still do believe he deserved his academy award. Yet the supporting cast is somehow weak, mena suvari playing the typical teen as in her other movies. Amazingly Annette Bening that I usually like is rather annoying and shrewish as Carolyn; all she really does is b**ch and fuss and have an affair with a real-estate competitor. (It's funny how I have to edit B**ch out of this review yet the film can get away with so much more without it really needing to be there) Thora Birch is seems that she was going to acting school and made a wrong turn somewhere and just ended up coming onto this set to do the film, maybe for her large breasts that she gets to display.

The movie just did not live up to its hype, mostly in the subject matter itself. The story is neither original nor classic. It was supposedly a comedy that just turned out to be depressing. A few moments where the film might actually make a point are interrupted by typical teen flick jokes made to keep you thinking this is really a comedy. Unfortunately many people like to laugh at the downfall of american society. The characters all look in the wrong places and never find the real beauty, maybe that is what the film is really about. Yet if I were to ask the filmmaker, I'm not sure if he would know either


Recommend this product? No

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