8.4/10
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2,744 user 174 critic

American Beauty (1999)

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A sexually frustrated suburban father has a mid-life crisis after becoming infatuated with his daughter's best friend.

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237 ( 1)
Top Rated Movies #62 | Won 5 Oscars. Another 103 wins & 98 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

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Sale House Woman #1
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Sale House Man #1
Fort Atkinson ...
Sale House Man #2
Sue Casey ...
Sale House Woman #2

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Storyline

After his death sometime in his forty-third year, suburbanite Lester Burnham tells of the last few weeks of his life, during which he had no idea of his imminent passing. He is a husband to real estate agent Carolyn Burnham and father to high school student Janie Burnham. Although Lester and Carolyn once loved each other, they now merely tolerate each other. Typical wallflower Janie too hates both her parents, the three who suffer individually in silence in their home life. Janie tries to steer clear of both her parents. Carolyn, relatively new to the real estate business, wants to create the persona of success to further her career, she aspiring to the professional life of Buddy Kane, the king of the real estate business in their neighborhood. Lester merely walks mindlessly through life, including at his job in advertising. His company is downsizing, and he, like all the other employees, has to justify his position to the newly hired efficiency expert to keep his job. Things change ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

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Genres:

Drama | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong sexuality, language, violence and drug content | See all certifications »

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Release Date:

1 October 1999 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Belleza americana  »

Box Office

Budget:

$15,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$861,531 (USA) (17 September 1999)

Gross:

$130,058,047 (USA) (2 June 2000)
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Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Sam Mendes avoided using close-ups, as he believed the technique was overused. He also cited Steven Spielberg's advice that he should imagine an audience silhouetted at the bottom of the camera monitor, to keep in mind that he was shooting for display on a 40-foot (10 m) screen. Spielberg-who visited the set a few times-also advised Mendes not to worry about costs if he had a "great idea" toward the end of a long working day. Mendes said, "That happened three or four times, and they are all in the movie." See more »

Goofs

When Ricky comes home and finds his parents watching TV, it is night and he is wearing his catering tuxedo even though he just came home from school (as he is carrying a backpack). (The scene - which wasn't in the original script - was moved from after the real estate party to earlier in the movie.) See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Jane Burnham: I need a father who's a role model, not some horny geek-boy who's gonna spray his shorts whenever I bring a girlfriend home from school. What a lame-o. Someone really should just put him out of his misery.
Ricky Fitts: Want me to kill him for you?
Jane Burnham: Yeah. Would you?
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Crazy Credits

thanks to all at the Donmar Warehouse in London and Dr. Bill and Alice See more »

Connections

Referenced in Traceroute (2016) See more »

Soundtracks

Don't Let It Bring You Down
Written by Neil Young
Performed by Annie Lennox
Courtesy of BMG Records (UK) Ltd./Arista Records, Inc.
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User Reviews

 
Close To Perfection
12 November 2007 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

The intention is so clear that everything else falls into place, perfectly. Kevin Spacey's suburban husband and father reminded me of his character in "The Ref" and that could only be a good thing. Annette Bening and her giggle works wonders here. Their marriage is a tabloid version of a "Who's Afraid To Virginia Woolf" Which means very close to someone we know. The biggest surprises in the film. besides the amazing dexterity of Sam Mendes at his first outing behind the camera, are West Bentley. Chris Cooper, Thora Brch and Allison Janney. As I'm writing this 8 years after its first release, the Oscars and the whole hullabaloo, I'm very surprised that West Bentley hasn't become a major star. He is amazing in "American Beauty" the complexities of his character are based on recognizable human stands, the hardest to face up to and I went where he went. Thora Birch is lovely as the object of his attention and the film, I believe, is here to say.


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