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Buy American Beauty 1999 Online (mkv, avi, flv, mp4) DVDRip
Year:
1999
Country:
USA
Genre:
Drama, Romance
IMDB rating:
8.4
Director:
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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Reviews
Wrenching, touching, hilarious
I saw an early screening of this phenomenal movie and it blew me away. There are laugh-till-you cry moments, especially as Kevin Spacey goes through the early stages of his midlife crisis. But the harshness and exquisite tenderness of life in all its glory are never far from the center of the story. Anyone with a family will be able to relate to the film.
1999-08-19
One of the year's finest
Watching "American Beauty" is like looking into a handful of American lives slowly plunging into moral and emotional devastation. Although these people are gaining a sincerely fulfilling happiness, they are also slowly losing their grip on human value and order. This is not your average social commentary, it has something most satires lack; poignancy. On one hand, this is a scathing examination of the facades and truths that surround a seemingly "perfect" suburban family, displaying what it would be like if everyone's true colours emerged, as they liberate themselves from the painful phoniness that society forces them to live by. One the other hand, "American Beauty" is a thought-provoking and emotionally devastating character study of two families finally achieving joy for the first time in their lives, unaware of the profound impact they are having on themselves and each other, and neglecting the consequences that will inevitably follow. "American Beauty" shines in almost everyway, from it's stunning imagery of beauty fused with violence and tragedy, to it's darkly hilarious script, this is one of those rare films that stay with you for a long time. But the main thing that makes this movie soar are the performances, Kevin Spacey and Anette Benning are simply sensational as the feuding married couple exploring new realms of life, Wes Bentley, Chris Cooper, Mena Suvari and Thora Birch also showcase excellent performances. A truly remarkable film.
1999-10-10
A little masterpiece...
"American Beauty" is tour de force cinema. Sam Mendes' brilliant debut feature depicts a web of characters who yearn for their own 'American Dream' - yet, in the end, only one character truly attains it.

Having seen "Happiness" only recently, I could not help but draw comparisons: both films centre around a microcosm of society in which the people, in their own unique way, all strive to be successful or simply 'happy'. But here the similarities end: the characters in "Happiness" undergo a self-realisation process through which they become increasingly aware of their meaningless existence, and go on to wallow in their own depravity. "Happiness" shows no signs of redemption; whereas in "American Beauty" the audience is offered a sense of hope, of salvation, though the characters must endure a similar fate, or more accurately, they must endure the way of life in which they are trapped.

The pivotal character upon which this theme centres, is the father Lester, played impeccably by Kevin Spacey. He is presented to us as a bit of a loser who plays the subjugated figure in the home and at work. He appears resigned to an unhappy life in which he is treated badly by his wife and daughter and his boss at work. Seemingly beyond redemption, Lester transforms from being a loser.

Mendes portrays this transformation admirably well: he shows Lester on his 'path to enlightenment' pushed up against a grim background of suburbanite existence. These early scenes are well balanced, forming a steady rhythm of TV commercial-like vignettes which prove very comical, if at times unsettling. As Lester reflects in the film: "My life is like a commercial". And how this rings true: like in "Happiness", all the characters hide underneath this veneer of normality and respectability, yet they are all revealed to be nothing but the opposite: depressed, depraved and desperate.

Lester's wife, played by Annette Benning, is the most success-driven character in the story which renders her the most hopeless in the film's tone of moral conviction. "In order to be successful in life one must project the appearance of success" is the maxim she adopts from the 'king' of real estate, Buddy King. It is a phrase which resonates throughout the film: for Benning's pawn, life is all about keeping-up appearances. This is where Lester differs from her: his emancipation is enabled by him discarding the constraints of 'normal life' and following what his heart desires.

Lester is the catalyst in this narrative in which the ancillary characters either follow suit (as does his daughter and Ricky) or pay the price (as does his wife and the Colonel). The irony inherent in this film, and it grows with resonance as the film draws to a conclusion, is that the only character who truly becomes free must sacrifice everything in order to achieve it. Yet it is through his sacrifice that he is able to afford the surviving characters a glimpse of hope in life.

This film left me gasping for air: its hyper-realism conveys, at the same time, a portrait of the suburban comedy, a jolting-shock of realisation, and a cathartic sense of hope. Mendes depicts a certain people who, to varying degrees, all strive for a certain 'American Dream', yet so few actually attain it. Though whilst one may have difficulty with tagging this film with the 'feel good' label, the beauty of "American Beauty" is that it sits half-way between a desperate cry for help and a reassuring sense of happiness and fulfilment and that is cinema at its best.
2000-02-26
Entertaining and Thought-Provoking.
Of the 250+ films I've seen and rated on IMDb, only one other (Schindler's List) is as good as American Beauty. A film like this not only entertains while you're in the theater but also drops subtle questions in your head about the nature of human behavior and the gulf between fantasy and reality. After watching this movie, viewers will think long and hard about their own lives as well as the lives of people around them. The movie spells out the social disillusionment phenomenon everyone experiences but can't really grasp.

American Beauty reminds us that, like Lester, we really have no idea what we really want. We're not rational creatures as economists assume we are. Our instinct might lead us to perform one action, yet our brains might tell us to perform the complete opposite. We may lust after material belongings, yet how do we know we will still treasure those material belongings once we obtain them? Lester may lust after Angela, yet once he feels her in his hands and finds out the truth about her sexuality, an entirely different feeling comes over him.

Ricky Fits, the drug-dealing boy next door, is able to look beyond conventional notions of attractiveness and find beauty in non-promiscuous, solemn girls as well as in plastic bags floating in the wind. When many criticize the movie, they say, "Where's the beauty in a plastic bag?" And that's the point. We live in a world of aesthetic subjectivism. What one person finds attractive, another may find repulsive, yet the urge is there for people to assume aesthetic absolutism. "It's just a plastic bag! How can there be beauty in it?" Well, a human being is just an aggregation of tissues, bones, and blood. How is that attractive? It depends on how you look at it. Reality is shaped by perspective.

Some people criticize the Ricky Fits character because he records his life experiences on tape and doesn't actually experience them. But time moves inexorably in one direction. Time cannot be stopped. In a physical sense the past and the future don't exist. We are only conscious in the present. Everything we do, everything we achieve, every bit of happiness we experience -- they are all eventually buried in the past by time. Recording subjective beauty is a means by which one can attempt to salvage beauty from the past into the present because time eventually destroys all beauty. If you don't believe me, walk into a pre-school and then walk into a nursing home. Remember that all the old men and women in the nursing home were once little kids.

Another profound element of American Beauty is in the tag line: look closer. An individual's behavior is not independent of his environment. Humans are conformists by nature, and humans will modify their behavior to assimilate into existing social categories. If any individual dares to stray from the category to which he has been assigned, he is shouted down and ostracized. No one can resist the urge to conform, so why bother? Everyone is nice in public, yet on the streets they blare their horns, scream, and swear. Some boys I know pretend to hate American Beauty because on the surface it seems like a "chick flick." They force themselves to watch gory horror movies and show off to others how they can stomach intense violence and excessive sex scenes. In American Beauty, Angela acts like a total slut, as many girls seem to be nowadays. In the end, however, she is not what she makes herself out to be. Colonel Fits tries to act like such a man, yet in the end it's all just a giant facade. Civilization is but one giant movie, and members of society must start acting their parts if they want to belong to this civilization. Otherwise, they're outsiders. Try walking into a job interview without a tie. You'll be thrown out. That is the power of convention.

What if I asked you this question: What do you want in life? Most people would say, "happiness." But is happiness worth deluding yourself for? Carolyn Burnham shields herself from sadness by adopting a positive-thinking philosophy, a philosophy of self-affirming mantras and harsh self-discipline. Positive thinking may help you attain your goals, but positive thinking also blinds you from reality. Is it wise or moral to change the channel when you hear about mass starvation in Africa so you can enjoy moments of fleeting happiness from a cheap romance movie? Self-help is just a euphemism for self-deception. All humans need some complex fraud to distract them from the harsh and nihilistic realities of life, whether it's religion, money, or even love.

In spite of American Beauty's greatness, there are problems. Characters are stereotypical, but viewers will hardly notice unless they're ultra-critical. Anyway, exaggeration is essential in satire so that certain points are made obvious to viewers. Furthermore, Alan Ball's original screenplay is slightly edited. The ending is more optimistic.

Problems aside, Sam Mende's debut movie is one of the greatest I've seen. Not only is it entertaining but it is also filled with interesting ideas. It's an important film for society because there's so much society needs to learn. One boy I knew refused to watch American Beauty because, as he said, "I'm not gonna watch a movie with a name like that!"

Look closer.

10/10
2004-01-15
Breathtaking
This has to be one of the, if not the best films I have ever seen. The performances by Spacey, Bening, Birch, and all the other actors were amazing. They will all be hopefully remembered at awards time. The thing that makes this movie so great is not only the stellar cast, but also the truthful and solid writting. This film was superb, and it will be remembered as one of the best films ever made.
1999-09-05
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.
2001-01-14
Honest
A man who is lonely as a cloud, makes every effort to obtain spiritual tranquility through a hollow wedlock and a world made of steel and stone.His heart is painted blue.Each day that goes by is nothing but one new pace to the finish line of his lifetime.His teenage doughter(Jane) doesn't love her anymore and his frustrated wife(Carolyn) only feels affection for her job.There is nothing new under the sun for him,Until the day that one girl turns his world upside down and this crush sparks the flame of love inside his monotonous reality.The girl is his doughter's friend Angela.To Lester she is the essence of his life and he starts building castles in the air.Tempted by her prettiness he resolves to commence a new living.Where he has been unsuccessful in the side of social and family liability, he has been victorious in reawakening the inner self of his youth.But this feeling of rejuvenation doesn't remain alive for a long time and he departs just when he has perceived the true meaning of life.
2002-09-18
Powerful film
What can I say that hasn't already been said? This movie was one of the funniest yet most disturbing movies I have seen in a long time. Kevin Spacey gives what may be his best performance (yes, I thought he was better in this than the Usual Suspects). The directing was top notch and all the other acting was terrific. I think this movie paints a good picture as to who we are as people. Not everyone in this world is a perfect, good looking person, and this movie plays on that notion. Everyone should go see American Beauty.
1999-10-10
A beautiful movie
I saw a sneak preview of American Beauty recently and all I can say is that I intend to see it again. This is a WONDERFUL movie that is worth the money to see in the theaters (the only movie I've been to where half the audience broke into applause during the film). Kevin Spacey plays Lester, a man who, while going through a mid-life crisis, begins to lust after a teenage friend of his daughter's. Spacey is, of course, a fabulous actor and really shines in this role. There are a few interwoven story lines involving Spacey's relationship with his control freak wife (Annette Bening, who is good if a little bit over the top in this role) and daughter, and the family next door, which includes a military general father, a mother who is apparently clinically depressed, and a very interesting son who is obsessed with filming beautiful things (including Lester's daughter Jane). What is unusual about this movie is that the plot is not unusual or particularly unique--it's a couple of families in an anonymous American suburb and how they relate--but the filming of the movie is absolutely beautiful, and is done in a way that makes the film alternately hilarious, heartbreaking, and horrific. It is definitely for mature audiences--there is some violence and a couple of frontal nudity scenes (both of which are essential and very tastefully done)--but older teens might enjoy it as well. Be wary of how the media chooses to portray this movie--it may be called a "black comedy," but, while sometimes hilarious, it is definitely a drama. Go see it--I don't think you'll be sorry.
1999-06-13
A complex film with a multitude of themes
American Beauty is not overrated. It seems as though every time a movie gets so much praise at the Oscars makes it automatically bad. That's pretty idiotic. I don't get the negative backlash. The themes and characters are still timeless,and still resonates with us. Also, the bullshit about pedophilia gets me wondering why any human being would believe such trolls. I guess you could interpret that however.

The movie is about Lester Burnham who is going through a mid-life crisis. He has a controlling wife who always nags at Lester, a rebellious angst driven teenage daughter, a horrible corrupt job, and he falls in love with his daughters friend. As you could probably tell, his life just goes downhill from here.

This is one compelling and engaging movie. From the opening scene you are instantly thrown into Lester's life, right down to the explosive finale at the end. I don't think people get how much depth there is in this movie, or maybe they forgot. The movie was highly acclaimed by critics and was nominated for a lot of awards, yet for some reason people started hating on it years after. The movie has a multitude of themes however, from lust, marriage, purpose, motivation, insecurities, being ordinary, and homosexuality. Those are heavy topics, but the film actually has some dark acid wit to it. It's not a particularly depressing film, the characters are very interesting as they go through their own problems.

The movie is a masterpiece, it has such a beautiful yet haunting score and the dream sequences were Lester fantasizes about his daughters friend gives symbolism and meaning behind his character. The plastic bag scene I have mixed feelings about, I could understand why they wanted to show it, gives meaning to one of the characters traits, but I thought the delivery was cheesy. The pace is suitably slow, I love the atmosphere of the film and how the film takes its time to flesh out the characters and themes. Sam Mendes does an excellent job at directing making each and every scene stand out.

The flaws I have are some questionable scenes. Like when Lester is eavesdropping on his daughter and her friend and they hear something outside, Lester thinks they hear him and loudly runs down stairs. First of all, how did they not hear Lester? They hear one tap on the window but not the loud running just outside their door? Also, like the bag scene there are a lot of heavy handed moments in the movie in terms of acting and throwing symbolism's and metaphor's.

Overall, the movie left an impact on me. Lester's mundane routine gets me worried if that stuff will happen to me in the future. Well, it probably will, since I already feel as though I have mid-life existential crisis's. Oh gosh. Anyways watch American Beauty, it holds up and its on Netflix.

Score: 9/10
2016-04-27
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