American Beauty

Starring: Kevin Spacey, Annette Bening, Thora Birch, Wes Bentley, Chris Cooper

Directed by: Sam Mendes

Produced by: Dreamworks SKG, Jinks/Cohen Company

Distributed by: Dreamworks

Genre: drama

Xibo's grade:


Average grade:



A- A- A-
Review by Xibo Date seen: October 2, 1999
Viewing Location: Secaucus Grade: A-
Summary: A really wacky and twisted view of suburban life.
Kevin Spacey rules from orbit, he just does. This movie is a classic, a very original tale of suburban life. You have the father, who feels like a failure. The daughter who is suffering high school angst. The neighbor, a retired army colonel who has sexual insecurity problems. His son, the young rebel and video fanatic. And there are other great characters as well, making for a great film. I wasn't too pleased with the ending though, it seemed a bit sad. 

A+ A+ A+
Review by Finrod Date seen: 0, 0000
Viewing Location: netflix DVD Grade: A+
Summary: A Best Picture movie that truly deserved the award
Generally, I don't like most movies that win Best Picture. This movie, however, is a big exception. The concept as I see it is an ordinary suburban family and their neighbors where discontent has been building for a while, and then erupts to the surface so that all the main characters end up making major changes to their lives, thus throwing all their relationship patterns into a serious tailspin. Kevin Spacey is amazing, and could carry the movie by himself, but he doesn't have to-- all the main characters bring something to the mix, making for a maelstrom that culminates in-- well, I won't give spoilers here, but it works very well, IMHO. Go See This Movie if you haven't already.  

A- A- A-
Review by Jessamine Date seen: February 18, 2000
Viewing Location: Atlanta Grade: A-
Summary: Seemingly weird... but sadly not uncommon personalities.
I thought this was a must-see movie. Note that it didn't get an A+ from me though. It was not perfect, but it was very good. The characters were all distinct and had their idiosynchracies and in most cases disturbances - but most were all too common and real in the general population. To say that this movie looks at "suburban life" doesn't really explain the plot.. it seems more like a study of personal relations. 

Review by hughjtoad Date seen: February 28, 2000
Viewing Location: Redwood City, CA Grade: A
Summary: a very good film with moments of greatness
This was a very well-considered film, with great performances. I think the best thing about it was that it allowed almost every character to developed his or her own three-dimensional space. The story didn't take any easy shortcuts, but let things develop in what seemed like a natural way. My only complain was that it left me fidgety in a couple of points where it seemed to be trying to have a meditation moment that didn't quite work for me.  

Review by Scalveg Date seen: February 28, 2000
Viewing Location: A thoroughly indifferent theater Grade: A
Summary: Movies that you're not sure how they'll end. What a concept.
I liked it. It kept me guessing. I suppose Kevin Spacey's character was the main character, or even the 'hero' but it's hard to tell sometimes. That's a good thing. All the characters get some 'face time' and we get inside each of their heads. On the other hand, none of their growth or development is in an especially novel direction. Oh well.

Bonus points for the ending. I don't want to think too much about the moral of the story, however. 

Review by Z Date seen: December 14, 2000
  Grade: A
Summary: no message, just pure character
American Beauty doesn't have a message, no matter what people may think. It's just a movie about a guy who tires of the shackles of everyday life. Who doesn't have this fantasy? 

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