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Review On "American Beauty"

1698 words - 7 pages

"American Beauty" as a film text, explores the main institutions of family, marriage, beauty and homosexuality. The relationships within these institutions are explored through the main character of Lester Burnham. The film uses these themes as way to challenge and reinforce the notions of real life 'truths', depicting every day scenarios through power relations and practices. These factors can be explored through the failed marriage of Lester and his wife Caroline and through the relationship of their daughter Jane. The meanings that are encouraged or discouraged from the text can be explained through the techniques deployed by the film, such as symbolism, characterisation, cinematography and music. American Beauty is strongly dependent upon the point of view of Lester Burnham, where narrative is constructed to create a sequence of events that leads to conflict between himself and his family and the themes explored through the text.Lester Burnham is a middle-aged man who has a failed marriage and has an only daughter who hates him. In American Beauty, Lester has only just 'awoken' from his 'sedated' state, and has realised what he yearns for the most; his loss of youth. Lester turns into a revived human being, when he remembers the things he wants and misses most. With the transition of Lester, Caroline (his wife) also begins to change becoming obsessed with having all the right things in life so that she can be a success. As Lester begins to transform, the failure of his marriage is replaced through his fixation of his daughter's best friend, Angela Hayes where he fantasises of a romance that he once and no longer has with his wife."American Beauty", as a film genre displays a realist drama with comedic elements. The genre enables life realities to become challenged and endorsed through Lester's point of view. His activities and comments display the life and challenges he's going through and how he enacts and reacts to those relationships surrounding him. The film develops the context of a suburban family, where, from the outside, his family is perceived to be normal. As the film develops the characterisation of Lester and his family members, the audience soon realises that his family is a dysfunctional one, which challenges the notion of a successful marriage and a happy family.The film is rated to MA 15+, enabling the audience to be considered as older people, who generally know what it's like to live in a marriage and a family. The target audience, who are generally older, can sympathise through Lester's character, as his opinions are dominated through his point of view. The audience may understand the stresses and pressures that are involved in creating a successful marriage or a failed one.The general form of the text, creates a narrative of beginning, middle and end. Enabling the main character to develop conflict to create a plot. This can be explained through Lester versus Caroline, Lester versus nature and Lester versus self. With...

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