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American Beauty - Dealing with Age

Essay by review  •  December 18, 2010  •  Essay  •  934 Words (4 Pages)  •  1,437 Views

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American Beauty

As we get older, we tend to look for ways of making ourselves look and feel younger, whether it is a change in our day to day lives or maybe just making a new purchase. I believe that the film American Beauty is an example of what people may do to achieve this result.

The film, American Beauty has won many awards for its magnificence. I have chosen to focus on this film for its ability to bring you in and let you understand that people go on quests to find the younger side of themselves, and how extreme it can get.

There are several different roles in this film. First, you have a husband and father, Lester, who seems to have fallen into his midlife crisis and starts to feel like maybe he's just getting too old. Next you have the wife and mother, Carolyn, who is trying to keep her family and her career balanced while she also is getting tired of the same old routine. You have a teenage daughter, Jane, who is at the point in her life where she is actually trying to feel a little bit older, and she may be feeling a little confused about how her family is acting. There's the friend of the daughter, Angela, who is looking to feel sexy in her body, maybe for attention or possibly it's because she really doesn't know how to act as she gets older and more mature. Lastly there is the neighbor, Frank, who is a retired Marine. He manages his home according to the typical military family standards.

These are just a few of the characters, but I believe these ones are really important.

The film begins with the introduction of these main characters. Everything seems to be fairly normal. After a few unorthodox scenes including the less than happy daughter being filmed, you begin to realize that this family might have a few more problems than you thought. One of the most critical scenes of the movie is when the family goes to the high school basketball game. This, I believe, is the first look into the fantasy world of wanting to bring back, or even hold on to, ones youth. Lester has a moment when he notices Angela doing a dancing routine. He then slips in to a faux reality, envisioning her dancing specifically for him and resulting in taking her clothes off. This scene also has the most symbolic part of the entire film, the floating rose petals. I think that the rose petals represent youth. What is a better representation of beauty and youth than a rose petal? From this point, Lester believes that in order to feel younger, he must start taking control of his life, so he decides to do some irrational things like, ditch his job, buys some weed off the neighbor kid, and decides to get a simple "kid" job at a fast food restaurant. These are all steps that he takes to create a new image for himself. He even begins to work out to help him feel more youthful.

The wife, Carolyn, decides that her family life isn't going so well and seeks out a third party for her sexual needs. This makes her feel better and probably a little refreshed, to know that she

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