Welcome to another awesome edition of Movie Review Monday!
This week's movie is the 1999 classic, American Beauty, starring Kevin Spacey and Annette Bening.
The story revolves around the Burnham family, who all are having struggles their own struggles with their identity and it focuses on the midlife crisis of the patriarch, Lester, played by Spacey. He is disillusioned with his job, distanced from his wife and daughter, and overall feeling like he has lost his passion for life in general.
Spacey carries most of this movie, but the supporting cast is very strong and helps lift the film even higher. Wes Bentley, Chris Cooper, Thora Birch, and Mena Suvari all give wonderful performances. The consistency of storylines for everyone is where they are with who they are and who they want to be. Some of them repress who they are, some of them pretend to be something they're not, and others have found freedom in the confidence gained by being yourself and not caring what others think. We witness Lester's journey through finding himself, which causes dramatic changes in his life and in those around him. Where before he suffered under the tyranny of the ordinary and routine, he begins to break free of these shackles and explore what it is he wants, rather than others.
This movie is a darkly dramatic one, with great character work and nuanced performances. It won several of the major awards when it came out and I can understand why. It's an emotional movie that makes you think but is also fun and cathartic at the same time. We can all relate to someone (or everyone) in the movie and it can stand the test of time (besides the use of pagers and VHS tapes.)
I highly recommend you check out American Beauty, which you can find streaming right now on Netflix.