American Beauty Movie Analysis

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American Beauty is an extraordinarily powerful film with a variety of themes that tell the story of a dysfunctional modern American family and their efforts to conform to society’s obsession with portraying the perfect image to others and the desire for materialistic items to satisfy the need for happiness. The film gives a detailed insight of each character and their flaws through a voyeuristic point of view and shows the effects of their destructive behaviors which prohibit them from genuine happiness. The character we chose to analyze is Carolyn Burnham. The movie is about the Burnham family which include, husband and father, Lester Burnham, wife and mother, Carolyn Burnham, and their daughter Jane Burnham. Lester is a 42 year old advertising executive who is also the movie’s narrator. He has an extremely complicated and strained marriage with his ambitious wife Carolyn who is a realtor. Their daughter Jane, who is 16 years old is experiencing self-esteem issues and is decidedly unhappy with her family life. Lester describes himself as a loser, who is dominated and manipulated by his wife, and everyone around him. He experiences a feeling of rebirth when he is introduced to Jane’s friend, Angela, who exhibits a promiscuous persona. Lester is immediately infatuated with Angela and fantasizes about her in a sexual manner, which causes his daughter much embarrassment and anger. Over a period of several days, Lester, Carolyn, and Jane all make decisions that change their lives forever. Lester experiences a mid-life crisis, which causes him to quit his job, and blackmail his much younger boss, Brad for $60,000 dollars. He decides to get a job at a fast food restaurant where he used to work when he was younger. He trades in his Camry for the car of his dreams, which is a 1970 Pontiac Firebird and begins working out in his garage and smoking pot much to the dismay of

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