Books and Movies Reviews

Family Values

In viewing American Beauty, I feel the film confirms that family values do not
resemblethe "traditional family" of yesterday.
Firstly, in the film, we can see that each of the families involved are dysfunctional.
Lester, (the father) is obviously suffering from a mid-life crisis and sees that his
marriage is failing.He tries to communicate with his daughter (Jane), who has already
made her decision that her family is in jeopardy.Jane is probably the only person in her
family that is considered "ordinary".Jane's mother (Caroline) is also "suffering"in the
sense that she too, is miserable in the marriage.But, she would rather keeps things quiet
for the sake of the family.She keeps herself occupied by gardening and working outside
of the house.In other words, Caroline is in denial that her family is collapsing. Both
women in the family do not respect Lester, because he does not show authority and
affection,nor does he give any contribution in the day to day events;as if he never
exists.Lester's family is a facade of what a "normal family" should be.
In the second family, Frank (the father), is a Colonel in the Marine Corps and is a
control freak.He is also homophobic and thinks that Ricky (his son) is homosexual.
Ricky is a troubled teenager because he is abused both mentally and physically by his
father.Ricky's mother is also a victim of abuse and is probably psychotic.In the film,
they don't even mention her name; she basically doesn 't exist.In Frank's theory,
structure and discipline are necessary for a family to function "normally".This family
thinks they are "traditional" in the sense that they still stay together because it's the
"right thing to do".Besides, what would the neighbors think?
The third family, Jim and Jim,…

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