Thursday, May 21, 2009

American Beauty captures "poetically" (for lack of a better adjective) the obsession of a man in his forties for a teenage girl. But that's just the surface. The film goes way beyond that. It photographs how is the middle class life in the suburbs for a middle age, American couple, that's going through the so called and real "middle life crisis".
I watched American Beauty a long time ago, I was only 18 years old at the time and on my first vacation to Spain. My Spanish cousin wanted to watch it then, so we did. I think none of us got the point of the movie. She was three years younger than me. We expected to see something different. We definitely didn't get it. Now, seven years later, I watched it again through a completely different lense. I would say a cleaner and more mature one.
At another age, or period in my life, I would have thought that men were not perverts like the guy who falls for his daughter's friend in the movie. At this point of my life, I think it's possible and even human for men, regardless of their physical age, to fantasize with blonde schoolgirls, or women younger than them. I've seen it happened in real life; therefore, I appreciate the honesty of the movie. It doesn't matter if I think it's right, or wrong. My point is the following: the characters from American Beauty resemble real people living plausible lives. The protagonist's wife is real; even if we wish for those human beings to do not exist, or at least, change a bit. She's a realtor, striving to be successful, listening and repeating self help books' philosophies all day long. Who doesn't have a friend, or a father in law like that? She's also a woman with differing beliefs and goals from those of her husband's, which eventually brings them apart. Sadly, I'm sure lots of married couples were able to identify with the part in which Lester tells his wife: "Our marriage is a show to make believe we are normal when we are nothing but..."
Then there's the ex marine obsessed with "discipline" and "structure", who demands perfection from his son. And there's the blonde girl, putting a facade to be cool, when she's not. At the end, the couple who called themselves "freaks" and "not normal" ends up being the most normal of the bunch, or maybe it was because their love saved them.


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