American Beauty

American Beauty ★★★★

This is one of those movies that I remember moments of quite well after so long, but hadn't returned to due to a vague sense of it having unsettled me as a tween. Re-watching it now I am struck by how it is the sort of pitch black yet earnest satire that Hollywood doesn't seem to want to make any more, and that's before even touching on the retroactively eerie Kevin Spacey performance considering the direction his legacy went. It definitely captures a certain late 90s, pre-social media vibe of isolation and awkwardness in hilarious over-exaggeration, especially considering pretty much everyone's behaviour in it would be worthy of cancelation in a present day narrative. Films like this are true gems in that they can hold a mirror up to contemporary audiences' ennui, and years later make them look long and hard at whether or not they've collectively learned from the consequences of their self-absorption.