American Beauty , American dramatic film , released in , that was a critical and box office success and earned five Academy Awards , including best picture. Writer Alan Ball and director Sam Mendes created a dark satire of suburban culture that delivers sharp jabs at a typical middle-class American family, kills off its flawed yet likable main character, and still delivers a message of forgiveness and redemption. The film depicts the last few months of the life of Lester Burnham played by Kevin Spacey , who narrates the movie. Lester lives in a nameless suburb in an apparently loveless marriage with Carolyn Annette Bening , a materialistic real estate broker who is unsatisfied with her level of success, and their unhappy teenage daughter, Jane Thora Birch.
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American Beauty is a American drama film written by Alan Ball and directed by Sam Mendes , in his feature directorial debut. Kevin Spacey stars as Lester Burnham, an advertising executive who has a midlife crisis when he becomes infatuated with his teenage daughter's best friend, played by Mena Suvari. Academics have described the film as a satire of American middle-class notions of beauty and personal satisfaction; further analysis has focused on the film's explorations of romantic and paternal love, sexuality, materialism, self-liberation, and redemption. Ball began writing American Beauty as a play in the early s, partly inspired by the media circus that accompanied the Amy Fisher trial in He shelved the play after realizing the story would not work on stage. After several years as a television screenwriter, Ball revived the idea in when attempting to break into the film industry. The rewritten script had a cynical outlook influenced by Ball's frustrating tenures writing for several sitcoms. American Beauty marked acclaimed theater director Mendes' film debut; courted after his successful productions of the musicals Oliver! Spacey was Mendes' first choice for the role of Lester, though DreamWorks urged him to consider better-known actors.
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