American Beauty

American Beauty ★★★★

God, this film has so much more impact when you get what's the meaning behind all the motives and that kind of stuff. I mean, sure, first time watching it I had a generally good time, but the second time was so much better. Absolutely love that.

American Beauty is a 1999 film by Sam Mendes (the guy who did 1917), and it follows an american family (in more than the one, obvious way) that has some big issues, both with themselves and with each other. The main focus of this film though, I'd say, is Lester Burnham (Kevin Spacey), the father of that family, that feels trapped in a sedated state, living on auto-pilot and keeping his head low. But one day he feels this immense, powerful attraction to his daughter's best friend, Angela Hayes (Mena Suvery), and goes through a huge mental shift.

Like I said, I did enjoy the film the first time - the plot is interesting, the cinematography felt somewhat unique at certain points, the soundtrack is quite solid. But I couldn't help but feel that I missed something (not to spoil anything, but it's related to the color red as a motif and certain analogies between the characters), and so I did my research and watched this film again. And oh boy, it made it so much better.
The cinematography is actually brilliant. There are a lot of subtle techniques used there that I totally adored - the way that this film shows the family members apart, even when they're all in the same room, to emphasize the isolation. The way that Mendes often filmed scenes in a manner that made characters look trapped.
And above all of that, the message, the ideas here, were truly fascinating to me. It all felt fresh and unique, and was presented in quite an ingenius way. I like that statements the film makes about the American society, the world's chase after beauty and material, the meaning of life. And yeah, I know that it sounds like rubbish, but I guarantee you that American Beauty has interesting takes on all of the above, and it's totally worth checking out.

My problems with this film are mostly about the characters - especially Jane, Angela and Ricky. I do think that they're good and generally well written - well, for the purpose of the film - but it feels like certain lines and exchanges could've been more well written when it's about those three. Again, they all do fit into the film's general idea and message, and they all do a great job in that, but I felt that at times their dialogue was just a little weak, that's all.

But yet, to sum it all up, I'd say that I really enjoy this film, both plot-wise and much much more now when I feel like I see the full picture. It's a captivating, brilliant and creative piece of cinema, that could've maybe been more sharp at certain points but overall feels quite ingenius. I'm feeling an 8.7 on this one.