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American Beauty Essay

1821 words - 7 pages

The movie “American Beauty” is a drama film that depicts the inter-persona family relationships of repressed middle-class people, describes the process of rediscovering true values in life, and how personal changes affect inter-personal relationships (Cohen, Jinks, & Mendes, 1999). The Burnham family are the main characters of the movie, and the family consists of Lester Burhnam, Carolyn Burnham, and their daughter Jane Burnham. Lester is a desperate and frustrated man who hates his job, cannot confront his wife, does not have any respect from his daughter, and has no control over the events that occur in his life. However, Lester soon decides to leave the role of the victim and replaces his job at the magazine with a job at the fast food restaurant while blackmailing his previous boss to give him $60,000 dollars.
Lester befriends a teenage boy Ricky Fitts, who moved to the neighborhood recently with his parents Frank and Barbara, and starts purchasing marijuana from him. Furthermore, he starts fantasizing about his daughter's friend Angela and starts exercising in the garage to improve his physique for the purpose of having sex with her. Carolyn was frustrated by her husbands immature behavior and started an affair with Buddy Kane. When Lester found out about her affair, he claimed he was happy for her because he did not see any point in their marriage any more. Meanwhile, Jane Burnham bonds with Ricky Fitts and starts to openly talk about her issues at home which caused her low self-esteem and reserved behavior. Although Lester finally finds true happiness and begins controlling his life, the repressed colonel Frank, who mistakenly believed Lester was gay and tried to kiss him, shoots him in the head. While it seems unfair that a man dies just when he beings to realize the core values of life, Lester calmly concludes that “it's hard to stay mad when there's so much beauty in the world” (Cohen et al., 1999).
Lester and Carolyn Burnham are parents who do not provide a proper environment for raising their daughter because they both have personal issues in life which reflect in their inter-personal family relationships. Although people often characterize their behavior as people who are in the mid-life crisis, the Burnhams are actually repressed people who are not following their personal ideals and goals in life. While Carolyn Burnham follows the role of a strict mother focused on her career and success, Lester Burnham is a lethargic man who despises his job, family, and everything else in life. With their attitudes in life, they were unable to provide a caring and supporting environment for their daughter. Throughout the entire movie, the only relationship between Carolyn and Jane is Carolyn's critiques on her appearance and attitude. Otherwise, Carolyn displays little interest for anything other than her career. On the other hand, Jane hates her father because he flirts with her best friend Angela and gives her more attention than he gives...

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