American Beauty in Regard to the Reality of Life

Sam Mendes' 1999 motion picture American Beauty puts across a series of concepts regarding a typical suburban American lifestyle, normal problems in people's lives, and the concept of beauty as the only reason for which one needs to rejoice. The film shows the character of Lester Burnham as he wants to change his life but only manages to get into trouble as he is fired, his daughter is about to run away from home, and he falls in love with a teenage girl. The overall message of the motion picture is related to one's failure to accomplish his lifelong dreams. However, it is not pessimistic and actually wants viewers to understand that they should always be thankful for the beauty in life, regardless if it ends sooner than one might expect.

The film's title is probably meant to be a reference to the "American Dream," considering that it is the ultimate goal for most people. However, it apparently wants viewers to understand that there is more to life than just completing an objective. Lester comprehends this during the final moments of the film and the meaning that he wants to attach to this feeling is probably related to how it is best for one to enjoy the road instead of concentrating on the destination. The "American Dream" is apparently what Lester was interested in for most of his life. However, once he attains it, he realizes that it is not as pleasing as he thought it would be. This is actually one of the most intriguing elements of the human nature: once one comes in possession of something that he or she longed for his or her entire life, the respective person realizes that he or she actually wants something else.

The film is filled with irony and supports the concept that some of the strangest things happen exactly when no one expects them to happen. The characters in the motion picture are interconnected as a result of a series of coincidences and as they find out troubling information in regard to other characters. The fact that they are tied to their families proves to be particularly harmful for these people. Lester regrets having married his wife and is relatively unwilling to contribute to his daughter psychological upbringing. His wife, Carolyn, apparently shares his feelings and does not hesitate to cheat on him with one of his business rivals. This might be caused by her determination to demonstrate the wrongness of their marriage and to make Lester feel even more miserable. His reaction is somewhat surprising, but even more severe because he does not express any jealousy over the whole deal. It appears that he acknowledged that it was all in vain and that it is useless for him to employ emotions in his relationship with Carolyn.

In spite of the critical condition of the Burnham family, its suffering is actually the main attraction of the film. Viewers typically feel that miserable families are more interesting than happy families. Lester's sarcasm is amusing, even though he does not appear to feel any enjoyment over expressing it. The film's storyline gradually brings viewers to Lester's place and has them view everything from his point-of-view. His wife's exaggerated pride in regard to her own character is the result of his own failure to prove her wrong. While he wants his listeners to think that he is not guilty for the situation that he is in, he eventually demonstrates that he carries the largest responsibility for his unhappiness.

At the time when Lester, Carolyn, and Jane analyzed their future and considered that it would be filled with happiness, none of them wanted to take into account variables that might negatively affect their condition. They did…