Books and Movies Reviews

American Beauty critique

American Beauty directed by Sam Mendes won the Academy Award for the Best Original Screenplay and the Best Picture Award. Film critics restrained from clear-cut negative reviews, only ocassionally pointing out weaknesses of the the plot or the shallowness of main themes of the picture. The money invested in realization of this film certainly paid back yielding a high level of return (just in U.S.A. 130 million dollars). To cut a long story short, this Hollywood production seems to be a great success. The choice of the subjects itself (grotesque depiction of American middle-class society) attracts the viewer's attention. The subtopics pursued in the film, namely beauty, work and repression, make it even more admirable.It obviously stands out from the mainstream of American cinema industry, still the scriptwriter and the director did not manage to steer clear of employing certain typical hollywood stereotypes and bias.
Thefirst of subcurrents worth tracing in the film is the pursuit of beauty. As a matter of fact, it is rather yearning for the authentic beauty, which, here, is substituted with the fake glitter of luxuries, cash and dispensable objects. All the characters except Ricky Fitts (Wes Bentley), who is the only genuine character, and Lester Burnham seem utterly oblivious to the bliss of the true life. Ricky assumes a stance of a simple viewer who possessed the faculty of insight into the substance of things. Thus he can see through the ugliness to reach the core and to experience metaphisical transcendence in contact with authentic beauty. Inquiring mind cannot fail to notice Emersonian overtones present in such an approach towards beauty. Emerson ,the luminary of American transcendentalism, praises'simple pereception of beauty'(Emerson 1012) as the only valid way to unboltthe doors of consciousness, which, actually,is a method of insight Ricky exercised.
The author of'Nature' also direc…

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