Updated: Oct 15, 2020
American Beauty (1999) by Sam Mendes
Available on: Netflix, Amazon Prime.
One word review: Quintessential!
Disclaimer: No spoilers ahead.
Did you know?
American Beauty had a different ending initially, and later the script was re-written to justify the journey of the protagonist's character.
American Beauty is a comedy drama film that takes you along for an emotional ride; the emotions of the different characters in a town. The movie is an epitome of bravura in the art of screenplay. I remember Syd Field had re-iterated myriad times and provided this movie as a case study in his Screenplay book. The beauty of this movie simply lies in the varying emotional arc of each and every character involved in the story.
Great stories will have many characters and every character will be well-defined with a back story and a journey through the film. The screenplay of American Beauty is one of the quintessence of screen writing. Not only the protagonist but each and every character in the film is detailed thoroughly, given a purpose, and has an emotional arc that culminates at the climax with a dramatic event.
I enjoyed both watching the movie and discerning the writing of the characters while the scenes progressed. Great stories alone are not enough to make a movie great. The cast must give a spectacular performance to transform the film into an outstanding movie. And this is what happens in American Beauty. The actors have given a stunning performance which elevates the movie to higher levels.
Favorite Movie Quotes:
I'm just an ordinary guy with nothing to lose.
Obviously, most of our favorite character after watching the film would be the protagonist which is played by Kevin Spacey. Apart from the lead character, my other favorite character was Ricky Fitts, whose performance and the definition I enjoyed thoroughly.
Sometimes there's so much beauty in the world, I feel like I can't take it, and my heart is just going to cave in.
With incisive definitions and thoroughgoing character arcs, American Beauty is another masterpiece from Hollywood. No wonder it bagged 5 Oscars including the Best Picture, Best Director and Best Actor awards.