American Beauty Analysis

1006 Words5 Pages
American Beauty ventures through the lives of a family and their contiguous society with very low self-worth. We see them struggle to find who they are and what they really want with their lives. In particular, the director Sam Mendes examines Angela who we see try to deal with her need to be anything but ordinary and we watch as she battles inside her mind to be sincerely happy. The director of American Beauty, Sam Mendes explores Angela’s desires and shows us how insecure a beautiful teenage girl can be and her need to be something everyone wants. On the outside, Angela seems to have very high self-esteem; she is beautiful, successful, and proud of herself and brags about her supposed sexual encounters with various men. She is the object of desire in this film. This is shown to begin with at the basketball game. Lester and Carolyn have come to watch their daughter, Jane cheer for her schools cheerleading squad. The cheerleaders start their dance with Angela in the centre of the group. Almost instantly we see Lester infatuated by Angela’s appearance, as if she is the only person in the world. Mendes shows this firstly by closing up on Angela and Lester separately and blocking out the people around them. Then he advances this effect by completely removing the people around them and having Lester sitting in the grandstand by himself and then putting Angela in the middle of the basketball court focused on by a spotlight. This enforces the idea that Angela thinks she is the most sexy and important girl on earth and she knows that men are drawn to her looks. When Ricky comes up to Jane and Angela in the school yard, Ricky’s eyes are all for Jane and he talks mainly to her. He has a video camera which he only has on Jane too. Angela shows a side of defense as she says to Jane “I don't believe him. I mean, he didn't even like, look at me once.” This shows us that if a man
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