American Beauty movie review - Aussieboyreviews


This mature, sexual but outstanding drama centring on Kevin Spacey as a father going through a midlife crisis features relationships and sex. American Beauty is beautiful and deserving of its oscars.


Lester Burnham, a sexually frustrated suburban father struggling with his family and slipping into depression, lands in a midlife crisis when he loses his job and becomes infatuated with his daughter’s attractive best friend.

Movie Images

Movie details

Director: Sam Mendes
Cast: Kevin Spacey, Annette Bening, Thora Birch, Mena Suvari, Wes Bentley
Writer: Alan Ball
Release Date (Australia): 26 January 2000
Runtime: 122 minutes/2h 2m
Genre: Drama, Romance
Country: USA
Language: English

CONTENT GUIDE (warning: May contain spoilers)

Themes (MA15+)

The film features strong sexual themes, in addition to thematic elements including domestic violence, murder, infidelity and drug dealing.

Violence (M)

The film includes an implied shooting murder that is accompanied by a blood spatter, in addition to scenes of domestic violence, including a man beating his son with blood detail.

Coarse Language (MA15+)

The film features a single use of “c**t”, in addition to uses of “f**k”, “s**t” and “**shole”.

Drug Use (M)

The film includes verbal drug references, drug dealing and depictions of marijuana smoking.

Nudity (M)

The film contains depictions of female breasts nudity and male buttocks nudity.

Sex (MA15+)

The film includes depictions of a man masturbating, a sex scene and a man and a teenage girl engaging in sexual activity. The film also features frequent verbal and visual sexual references.

mpaa rating

R (for strong sexuality, language, violence and drug content)

Aussie boy's thoughts

American Beauty would definitely be one of the most powerfully acted domestic movies focusing on relationships of all time. The thing that really stands out about very rare dramas like these are how they manage to compel you by simply just portraying an average and ordinary lifestyle and characters, and more thoughts and questions pop into your head as the story unravels.

Most of American Beauty is centred around relationships, including relationships between families, parents and their children, teenage friends and even a father’s relationship with her daughter’s best friend when he becomes infatuated with her. Lester Burnham, the main character who narrates this final section of his life whilst he is dead and makes that clear to the audience, deals with his complicated relationships with his family and his sexual fantasies towards a teenage girl. Sex and sexual frustration plays a big part in this movie, because his wife is also frustrated with her sex life.

But other than having problems with his sex life and the film taking a look at that, Lester is just a regular guy. His wife and daughter are also just as ordinary as he is. And this drama seems to be overstated because it simply just looks at average people who go through a crisis with their relationships. It doesn’t at all feel like a movie when you’re in the middle of watching it, because it’s just a reality of regular people. Obviously, a lot happens in this movie that ends up making it more engrossing and persuasive, but the utter averageness of the characters is what makes the entire cast absolutely outstanding, especially Kevin Spacey, Annette Bening and Thora Birch.

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