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Purchase American Beauty (1999) Movie Online and Download - Sam Mendes 🎥
Drama, Romance
IMDB rating:
Sam Mendes
Kevin Spacey as Lester Burnham
Annette Bening as Carolyn Burnham
Thora Birch as Jane Burnham
Wes Bentley as Ricky Fitts
Mena Suvari as Angela Hayes
Chris Cooper as Col. Frank Fitts, USMC
Peter Gallagher as Buddy Kane
Allison Janney as Barbara Fitts
Scott Bakula as Jim Olmeyer
Sam Robards as Jim Berkley
Barry Del Sherman as Brad Dupree
Ara Celi as Sale House Woman #1
John Cho as Sale House Man #1
Fort Atkinson as Sale House Man #2
Storyline: Lester and Carolyn Burnham are, on the outside, a perfect husband and wife in a perfect house in a perfect neighborhood. But inside, Lester is slipping deeper and deeper into a hopeless depression. He finally snaps when he becomes infatuated with one of his daughter's friends. Meanwhile, his daughter Jane is developing a happy friendship with a shy boy-next-door named Ricky, who lives with an abusive father.
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An American Masterpiece
This is by far one of the best, if not THE, movies of the 90's. "American Beauty" stole my vote immediately as I started watching it. The idea and concept of "American Beauty" is just some ordinary people on an ordinary block with ordinary lives.

Kevin Spacey plays Lester Burnam, a middle aged married man who has lost some hope in life. He has a job that is degrading, a wife who refuses to show any type of loving emotion towards him, a daughter who practically hates herself, and is judged constantly as a looser. But all of a sudden, he sees his daughter's friend, Angela, and something snaps in him to do something with his life. He quits his job and takes, the dreaded by most Americans, a fast food cook job. He starts working out and doing some illegal substances. Even though this sounds like he is ruining his life, it actually helps him and makes him realize how much he loves "the precious moments in his stupid little life." You have no idea what he is talking about I'm sure, but don't worry, you will some day. Kevin Spacey was by far the best actor in 1999 and deserved this Oscar 100%.

Annete Benning plays Carol Burnam, Lester's wife. She is a very fake and unsuccessful real estate agent who cannot get a sale. Her image in life is "in order to be successful, one most project an image of success at all times". You can tell, she is not happy with her marriage and starts to have an affair with the big boss of the real estate company. Again, seems horrible, but it helps her in the end. Annete was unfortunately robbed of an Oscar for this film.

The supporting cast: Thora Birtch who plays Janie, Lester and Carol's daughter, is extremely depressed and hates her body and herself. But when she notices a strange boy next door and develops a relationship with him, she realizes how precious life is and starts communicating with her family. Mena Suvari plays Angela, Janie's best friend, Lester's crush, and a girl who is clearly insecure despite her attempts at showing her sexy side to every guy in town. Wes Bentley plays Ricky, the next door neighbor boy who looks at something as simple as a bag being tossed in the wind as something beautiful. Some say that this was a very stupid scene, but I disagree. His dialog was perfect and made us look twice at something so simple. He won most of our hearts despite having somewhat of an arrogant attitude. Wes without a doubt got robbed of a nomination for this movie. Chris Cooper plays Ricky's father, Col. Frank Fits. He is a military Sergent who is very abusive to his wife and son and is an obvious homophobic that turns into an ironic situation in the end. Chris also should've been nominated.

The most stunning character actually to me was Allison Janney who played Barbara Fits, Ricky's mom, and Frank's wife. She was so beautiful and perfect. Her scene in the front room with Frank and Ricky, everything is so quite, and she says "I'm sorry, what?". Ricky says "Mom, no one said anything". When Ricky gets kicked out by Frank after a horrible accusation, Ricky says "Mom, I'm leaving". Instead of being like the average mom and trying to stop him or say things will get better, she knows this is best and says "OK. Wear a raincoat". Allison was just amazing and didn't get enough credit for her role.

If there could have been nominations for every role in this movie, they were well deserved. This is a terrific movie that should be watched by every adult. It'll make you look again at your life and think. What a great movie.

Edgy sting with a bitter sweet aftertaste.
Ahh, suburbia. That manifestation of mediocrity and anonymity in this, our post-industrial society.

Where else but in a typical SFR (single-family residential) nestled on a typical tree-lined street in a typical North American suburb can we find someone like Lester Burnham?

Where else can the inspiration be found for a movie as ironically sublime as American Beauty?

Burnham is a 42-year-old man who makes a living writing promotional material for a magazine that faces downsizing thanks to the excesses of his superiors.

He is married to Carolyn Burnham, a woman maniacally devoted to making it big in local real estate, and they have a daughter, Jane, who feels about as significant as plankton floating about the briny deep and about as attractive as a rusty Ford Pinto.

About the only thing that keeps this family together is Burnham's self-loathing and the mutual hatred heaped upon him by the two women in the house.

We're talking about a guy, after all, who starts the morning by masturbating in the shower. `This is the high point of my day,' he says. `It's all downhill from here.'

It's pretty obvious that the Burnhams have been somewhat dysfunctional for a few years now. And there's no doubt that Lester is struggling with a mid-life crisis, one that is expressed in more than buying a sports car.

Things come to a head when Lester develops a lusty obsession for his daughter's best friend, replete with life-like dreams of seduction as she lies in a bath of rose petals. Now Jane has to worry about dear old dad `spraying himself' whenever she brings a friend home.

Meanwhile, Mom has started playing around behind Dad's back with a smooth yet snake-like super salesman, Buddy Kane. And Jane must come to terms with a rather unique boy next door, when some new neighbours move in.

When Ricky Fitts, the son of a homophobic military man and a robotically devoted mother, isn't dealing marijuana to people like Lester, he's video taping anything and everything that remotely interests him, and he's developing enough footage of Jane to fill the vault at MGM. Needless to say Jane is a little freaked about this headcase with an eye for the visual.

As you've probably guessed, the humour can be pretty black in this movie. Indeed, it may not be for everyone, but any accusations that this movie is nothing better than mean and cynical are simply unfounded.

Instead, taking in American Dream is like biting into the fruit of knowledge (a.k.a. the apple), the edgy initial sting is followed by a bitter sweet aftertaste.

Matters are most assuredly helped by the casting of Kevin Spacey, the kind of middle-aged guy that every middle-aged guy would like to be, in the lead role. And Annette Bening pulls no punches as the self-centred career woman whose need to prove self-worth knows no bounds.

Indeed, everyone in this movie fits the bill perfectly, right down to the manager of the local Smiley Burger (Dennis Anderson) that Lester turns to for a job after he more than refuses to toe the company line.

In its own way, American Beauty is a humourous tale about a man who finally decides to come to account for his `silly little life' on his own terms regardless of what that means in appearances. And while the price is heavy, Lester comes out a true hero.

As ironically uplifting as it is caustic and acerbic, American Beauty, to use the cliché of enthralled reviewers everywhere, is a must-see movie -- especially for anyone who has acquired enough wisdom to know that no matter how old you are, there's plenty of life left that's worth living, and plenty of growing up still left to do along the way.
In Mendes' Curdled 'American' Dream, 'Beauty' Runs Deep!
An acerbic, darkly comic critique of how social conventions can lead people into false, sterile and emotionally stunted lives, American Beauty is a real American original.

Something's rotten in suburbia and it doesn't take long to get to the source of the stink – the Burnhams. Lester Burnham (Kevin Spacey) is a middle-aged burnout who is a marginalized husband to efficient, well-scrubbed Carolyn (Annette Benning) and a disregarded father to sullen teenager Jane (Thora Birch) and whose everyday life has degenerated into tedium. Browbeaten Lester is rejuvenated by the vision of a blonde Lolita. That the object of his obsession happens to be his daughter's best friend, a calculating sylph named Angela (Mena Suvari), matters not at all; he leaps into his fantasy like an enflamed teenager. Unhappy Carolyn undertakes an affair of her own while Jane, repulsed by her dad's hormonal attraction, secretly welcomes the attention of Ricky Fits (Wes Bentley), the strange, self-possessed boy next door. And just when things seem to be falling in place for the Burnhams, it all comes crashing down. If this sounds too depressing, guess again!

Although it's difficult to believe that humor can be found in this toxic portrait of superficial suburban values, predatory sexuality and domestic violence, rest assured it earns its laughs at every turn. Screenwriter Alan Ball gives the viewer a brief, horrific tour of crossed wires, inchoate longing, dashed illusions and resentment that wells from poisoned hearts with staggering self-assuredness. Sam Mendes (in one of the most promising debuts in cinematic history) whips the audience around from humor to horror to something poetic and humane. He suffuses the proceedings with a palpable sense of danger, keeping film-goers unsettled until the very end as to what exactly motivates these complicated characters. But he never loses sight of the humanity behind even the most reprehensible acts, a balancing act pulled off with unusual acumen.

American Beauty turns out to be emotionally satisfying, thanks in large part to a remarkably nuanced performance by Kevin Spacey. He commands the screen with a performance of subtlety, vulnerability and supreme confidence, in which he expresses mordant self-mockery and poignancy in a single gesture. He brings flawless comic timing to Lester's self-absorbed, infantile and rapacious behavior while holding on to the pathos of Lester's rage. Benning turns in her finest performance to date and all three teen players give sturdy and courageous portrayals in roles that would daunt actors twice their ages.

Visually daring, dramatically astute, and beautifully acted, American Beauty is a tart, funny and tremendously sobering movie about the deepest recesses of personal unhappiness. There's a sense of poignancy at the end, but also the feeling that we have been on an incredible trip through the lives and souls of three perfectly- realized characters. The result is the kind of artful defiance that Hollywood is usually too timid to deliver: a jolting comedy that makes you laugh till it hurts!
Hilariously Interesting
American Beauty is a romantic comedy that doesn't suck, which is a nice break. It follows a man stuck in an unhealthy relationship with his wife and eventually falls in love with his 16-year-old daughter's best friend. It's an unconventional love story, and it's done beautifully.

The plot is great. It's presented in a very comedic way and it's actually very funny. It's interesting and realistic, which is a little surprising, but nothing ever felt out of place. The subplot is also very good, and while I think we've all seen it before I think that it was the more relatable and serious of both plots, which created a really nice balance of both fun and seriousness.

The characters are quite good too. You have a good idea of who they are, and they aren't horribly far-fetched either. All of them were flawed people, but not so flawed and that they were obviously fake. A lot of them, especially Kevin Spacey's character, were very likable as well.

Like I already said, the movie is very funny. But all the humor is done in a very natural way. During character conversations they might say something funny, but it's part of the conversation and further develops their character as well as furthers the conversation, so it exists as more than just a joke.

Overall American Beauty is fantastic. The plot and subplot are very good, the characters are great, and it's incredibly funny without feeling forced. In the end I wouldn't hesitate to recommend this movie, so long as you're willing to be wowed.
Description of movie is misleading
You may read the little summary on the film up above and look at the movie poster and make assumptions about this movie, but the description is misleading. I know it was for me because when I finally watched the movie I was pleasantly surprised. This is one of those few movies that you will remember what you were doing while you watched it. The main point of the movie is not directly tied to the description up above - it is something that you will figure out for yourself..if you watch the movie. American Beauty is a breed of movie all its own, and should be watched with care- however silly that sounds. Overall, just watch it. Kevin Spacey's narration is perfect for this movie and he really adds to his character.
Awesome Movie
Well worth seeing, especially if you're a Kevin Spacey fan. Different than I expected, but fantastic. A lot of character development through out, where as I was expecting most to be focused on Spacey, a lot was spent on all characters which makes the movie all the better. You will not be disappointed if you decide to watch this movie. Very complex character interactions. Some odd/creepy parts but I think that it gives the movie its interesting touch and willingness to cross some lines made it unique. Along with Spacey, Chris Cooper also does a fantastic job and plays his typical character as a strict military man. Annette Benning also was fantastic. Great movie.
The zenith of self-consciously pseudo-profound inanity!
Someone put it best in one of the reviews I read earlier: This movie is exactly the result of people trying to make a so-called art movie and still win the best picture oscar. American Beauty shamelessly trots out every imaginable convention of what an art movie is and then glosses it over with cute shooting, a relatively short run time and face pace. It says virtually nothing about any of the supposedly unusual or profound content that ostensibly is its subject matter. Apparently issues of would-be gravity making cameo apperaances constitutes a profound social comment. It is a great jumble of clichés (spoilers here maybe): The neurotic wife, the homophobic army man (That he turns out to be gay is not of any consequence since anything serious is not given attention in the film, it is a cute afterthought. Though it would be a serious point if this movie had anything to do with reality)The white collar dick with a mid-life crisis, the artist who sees beauty where no one else can, the pretending promiscuous cheerleader. Are there any characters that aren't stock? I cant believe anyone commented that this is in any way realistic. This is not a portrayal of of American life. In reality the teenager with an abusive psychotic homicidal father does not have 40,000$ and cannot conveniently run away to his friends in NYC. The middle-aged man unjustly fired from his job does not conveniently have information he can use to blackmail his bosses for 60,000$ and live happily ever after. Living in a duplex as a teenager is nothing resembling duress; that would be living on less that one U.S. dollar a day as millions of people do. This could easily qualify as propaganda: When you are rich you dont have to worry, your problem is only that you are not looking "beneath the surface" to see the true hedonistic beauty that life is really made of. Well I agree that this beauty does exist. Unfortunately though I am going to burst the bubble of one of the supposedly most profound scenes in the movie: The plastic bag. Look closer, they say, and you will see the beauty in reality. Yes! but this is not reality! Plastic Bags do not blow in circles for 15 minutes. That scene could practically never have occurred in nature; Im sorry I did look closer and it was so obviously being manipulated off camera that it was absurd. That sums up the movie fairly: Look at what we call beauty, we say it is natural but we are really manipulating it. If wind machines (or whatever they are technically called) are really the wind then this movie is really based in reality. Sam Mendes and Alan (whatever his last name is, the writer) are daring the viewer to be as dumb and gullible as they hope they can be. And to my amazement they succeed. If we throw together a whole bunch of artistic clichés and it doesnt make sense to you then you are dumb. Anyone who has a modicum of sanity and any concept of criticism has seen this movie as the charade it is and I stand firmly in their camp. I literally exclaimed out loud (though I was by myself) "What the F**k??!!" at the beginning when Kevin Spacey says "In a way I am already dying (paraphrased)". It is the zenith of self-consciously pseudo-profound inanity.

Disclaimer for the inflammatory nature of this post: This is really just intended to be a rant as I am insensed at how many people cant see this movie for what it really is. I am not trying to analyze this movie in a deliberate or cogent way. If any wants me to argue more clearly then email me. And you will get a more thoughtful earful than this.
My fiancee & I saw this movie at a sneak preview showing in her college. The big lab building was filled with mature college students, and there were those who still haven't grown up yet. The lights dimmed and the movie started. It started out with Lester Burnham (played by Kevin Spacey), in a short monologue with an overview of the city they live in. From that moment until the ending credits rolled, I did not blink, I did not budge...except when I laughed...and BOY did I laugh. The movie itself was a bit....shall I say..oh...weird. My fiancee didn't like it too much, cuz it was too weird for her.

I thought it was a very serious movie, but with most of the serious scenes, it contains lots of humor. That's why I thought this movie was very good & original. It's very very serious, but at the same time, it was hilarious and shocking.

Please do NOT take your kids to this movie either (like I saw some parents do in American Pie), it's very BOLD & BRAVE. It has Kevin Spacey nearly commits statutory rape, it has Spacey masturbating (it actually showed it!), and it had Annette Benning having sex with Peter Gallagher..<very rough hard sex>.

In short, I think Spacey & Benning & Chris Cooper (the Neo-Nazi marine) all deserve oscars for this movie! As for best picture, as of right now, there's no movie as bold, daring & very well acted like this movie is. So, American Beauty, you have my votes!

A different kind of American family
A movie brilliantly disguised as an entertaining sitcom-ish family drama that takes every opportunity to establish the characters' individual story lines to the point in which the plot has expanded to twice the scope it had in the beginning.

Every character feels like grounded people with their own arcs by the end and it's surprising how detailed they become. The comedic undertone slowly becomes more unsettling as the events spiral to the extremes.

Kevin Spacey, Anette Bening and Chris Cooper all give great performances in this movie that help make their characters more sympathetic while still with questionable acts.

The trailer makes the movie seem like a generic 90s American family comedy where the focus is in Kevin Spacey but that couldn't be further from the truth.

It's a great subversion of the ideal American family taken to an extreme in which it could go any direction. And that it does.
Steve's Film Page on Facebook
Transcendent. A marvel of a film. There are an astonishing number of themes that are each explored and strongly supported by the cinematography, and that makes this film different each time you watch it. I chose to recognize authenticity and redemption as the central themes, especially considering the 'look closer' tagline. The smart and subtle uses of color support several themes, but are also subliminally subversive. The cinematography in American Beauty and the myriad goals it accomplishes are nothing short of genius and quite nearly mind control. Mendes' direction here is a staple of self-control and fearlessness in Hollywood. Spacey's performance was shockingly powerful and resonant. Everything just works, even the mishaps. My only caveat: with so many themes, it feels as though they are wrestling for attention. I felt forced to focus on the satirical aspect of the film, which becomes lacking. It's not that the film is beyond comprehension, rather the themes begin to contradict one another, producing a sort of unwanted chaotic element that is detrimental to the greater lessons to be learned. But the achievements in American Beauty cannot be ignored. You can spend days watching this film, trying to wrap your head around the beautiful meaning of life that it presents you with. But it's for you to determine what that meaning is. Top 500 film. 8/10 — watching American Beauty.
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