Relationship of Carolyn and Lester Burnham
American Beauty: Illusions of American Success is considered American success is most prevalent in Carolyn and Lester's marriage, Carolyn's . of materialistic goals and expectations will never fulfill your desire for acceptance and love. In American Beauty, a highly dysfunctional relationship which is 'just for show' is of This exposes the roles Lester and Carolyn play in their relationship, where even though she has worked so hard to be successful in achieving this goal. American Beauty, a story about Lester Burnham (Kevin Spacey), his family, and his In addition to a loveless marriage, an unhappy teen-age daughter, and an Lester and his wife Carolyn (Annette Bening), a realtor, cannot stand each film as they thought about their current situation and goals, their vision for the future.
These films expressed distaste for a system in our society, whether that be political or cultural all of these films feature a middle age man fed up with full time office work for some reason. American Beauty approached this same dissatisfaction with modern living by way of character study. Much like the film Fight Club, American Beauty criticizes the materialistic nature of American society.
American Beauty: Insecure People | Character Analysis | Corvus Analyzes
Lester Burnham, played by Kevin Spacey, is the protagonist. Someone watching this movie for the first time may guess where he ends up; his actions are immoral, and the change in Lester may come through as punishment or a lesson about his flawed decision-making. However, something that makes American Beauty so interesting is how it integrates side characters within the story and how they relate to one another.
It is done in a way that is unexpectedly engaging. Most films have a protagonist with a clear goal they want to achieve, and the side characters will either help them or try to prevent them from achieving that goal.
American Beauty: Insecure People | Character Analysis
American Beauty presents what appear to be stereotypical characters, but they are not simply catalysts for the plot and the main character.
The characters subvert our expectations as viewers in a way that is relatable and satisfactory to the story. Colonel Fitts is a homophobic veteran who abuses his son and has a narrow-minded view of the world around him. When he approaches Lester in the pouring rain, the film gives us the expectation that he might hurt or threaten Lester. Instead, he kisses him. We realize as viewers that he is someone who uses homophobia as a way to suppress his internal feelings.
This motivation makes sense, and it completely changes how you watch the film and perceive the character for future viewings. Ironically, Angela is preaching something all of these characters believe in. She stands behind this statement with a false sense of achievement, as if her physical beauty separates her from the idea of being ordinary.
Angela inflates her ego by talking about her sexual experience and her physical beauty. When Jane and Ricky plan their runaway, we expect Angela to become upset with Ricky and potentially engage with Lester in spite of her relationship with Jane.
Instead, we learn that she created a fake narrative about herself in order for people to like her. Though the idea of success was a deciding factor in the outcome of their marriage, Carolyn, in particular, seemed to have nearly every aspect of her life determined by materialistic success. Of all the characters in the film, no character is preoccupied with the idea of success quite like Carolyn.
Carolyn, through her repeated affirmations as well as chastising herself anytime she dares to show any emotion is convinced that the appearance of success is all that matters.
However, upon being discovered by Lester and having her perfect image blown, her lover quickly ends the affair and leaves her devastated, confused, and angry.
In fact, throughout the entire film, the only time you witness Carolyn breaking her mold of a successful woman is after she has a very elegant dinner with Buddy Kane, and then chooses to go to a very tacky motel in order to carry out her affair American Beauty. Considering that Buddy and Carolyn are both very image- driven people, it is certainly out of character for them to choose to visit a dilapidated motel. The audience would have to infer that the couple feels that none of their contemporaries would be around to see them in the act, and therefore did not consider how it would affect their image.
This loss of the image of success seems to drive Carolyn over the edge and she places a gun in her purse, intent to confront Lester American Beauty. Paired with the fact that Lester has seemed to be so indifferent to this drastic loss in their relationship, Carolyn seems intent on murder. As a forty-two year old man, Lester Burnham experiences a profound mid-life crisis, working at a job he loathes, and living with a wife and daughter that treat him as if he is worthless.
Lester appears to experience a new sense of freedom when he chooses to abandon the obligatory image of a perfect family and marriage. Determined to live a more simple and honest existence, he quits his job and goes to work at a fast food restaurant and starts smoking marijuana.
This new lifestyle gives Lester the nerve to 4 speak up for himself and stop living as a second-class citizen in his own home. Although Lester feels freed from his previous life, both Jane and Carolyn feel abandoned, which further pressurizes their relationship.
When finally confronted with the object of his desire, Angela, he discovers that this too, is only an illusion when she confesses that she is a virgin American Beauty.American Beauty: Lester discovers real beauty
The illusion of living for the American Dream in the s, tore families and marriages apart. They found that although more women were in the workplace, it had only increased the workload in the family, leaving little time to build the family dynamic and similar relationships.
The many tragedies and scandals that took place in the s really drove home the message in American Beauty that you never really know what is going on behind 5 closed doors.