American Beauty Movie Review

At last, a movie with no likable characters that is nothing short of a joy to watch. Let's see if American Psycho can top that!

American Beauty chronicles the last year in the life of 42 year-old hack magazine writer Lester Burnham (Spacey), a suburban loser that has just about had it with his humdrum life and decides to make a few changes to regain control, for better or for worse. Those changes include quitting his job and blackmailing his employers, buying a vintage Firebird, taking a new job at the local fast food joint, buying thousands of dollars worth of pot, and plotting to sleep with his daughter's best friend (Suvari, the good girl from American Pie, playing the bad girl here).

If you think he's gone over the edge, wait until you get a load of his Realtor wife (Bening, playing an evil Martha Stewart - okay, a more evil Martha Stewart). Or the daughter (Birch), a zoned-out basket of angst. Or their neighbors, headed by a stern ex-Marine (Cooper) and his pleasant but quietly psychotic drug-dealer son (Bentley). Everyone here is a creep, and it's delicious to watch them play off one another - think of it as an updating of The Ice Storm to 1999.

The joy of Beautylies in its brilliantly drawn characters, great dialogue, flawless acting by all the players, and a clever voice-over by Spacey that, for once, adds quite a bit to the picture. For example, we're told at the beginning that Lester is going to die. While the black comedy unfolds for two hours, we struggle to figure out exactly how he's going to go. Obviously, someone is going to kill him. But who, and how? The genius of the script is that it could be anyone who does it.

Oscar nominations are deserved universally for the cast and crew, and I hope American Beautyis neither forgotten at Awards time nor at the box office. This is a rare and outstanding film that deserves attention and will challenge some heady competition for a place as the best film of the year.

Suvari on high.


American Beauty Rating

" Extraordinary "

Rating: R, 1999


More Kevin Spacey

Horrible Bosses 2 Trailer

In the wake of their struggle to murder their bosses in the first film, 'Horrible Bosses 2' sees Nick (Jason Bateman), Dale (Charlie Day) and...

Despite Emmy Snub, The Future is Bright for Netflix (Starting with Gervais Ad)

Netflix probably didn't have any deserved winners of major Emmy awards on Monday night (August 25, 2014). 'House of Cards' - which is fast becoming...

Primetime Emmy Awards 2014 -Breaking Bad Predictably Dominates Drama

The Primetime Emmy Awards were held on Monday evening (25th August) in Los Angeles and there was stiff competition in every category although the results...

Pussy Riot To Appear In Third Series Of 'House Of Cards'

Members of the Russian punk group imprisoned for their protest against their government are set to appear in the next season of acclaimed US drama...


'Horrible Bosses 2' Trailer: The Scheming Trio Are Back For Number Two (Poop Jokes Included)

The trailer has been released for the upcoming comedy sequel, Horrible Bosses 2, giving us our first glimpse of the follow-up to the successful and...

Horrible Bosses 2 Trailer

Having previously got involved with a scheme to kill their abusive bosses (a plan which didn't go exactly as they thought), Nick, Dale and Kurt...

Here's Why Kevin Spacey Absolutely MUST Be The Next Bond Villain

Kevin Spacey fans were sincerely disappointed to hear that the actor wouldn’t be appearing as the villain in the next James Bond movie, which is...

Kevin Spacey Won't Be Next Bond Villain. But Wow, That Would've Been Good

It’s hard to call this sad news when it was never news to begin with, but Kevin Spacey won’t be terrorising agent 007 in the...