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Monday, February 28, 2011

american beauty

my name is lester burnham. this is my neighborhood; this is my street; this is my life. i am 42 years old; in less than a year i will be dead. of course i don't know that yet, and in a way, i am dead already.

american beauty is about people who take life for granted and don't realize how good they have it. the characters that really stood out to me the most, and had the most meaning in the film, were the leads played by kevin spacey and annette bening. lester burnham (spacey) is your typical man in his early 40's. has a good job, a wife and daughter, lives in the suburbs, but overall is unsatisfied with life. events transpire, one including an infatuation with his daughter's friend, and he starts to realize he wants to travel back to the good ol' days where he was young, partied, and did whatever he wanted to do without any responsibility. so he quits his job, starts working out, buys a new car, etc. his wife carolyn is the career driven, over-achiever, who lives for what society perceives as "perfection." there are many more characters and a lot more to the film's plot than i have explained, but i think it's really the whole meaning of the film that i want to talk about.

american beauty is one of the greatest film masterpieces of all time. sam mendes' direction was superb, the acting by kevin spacey and annette bening was phenomenal, and the script was beautifully written. those were the first things that came to my attention after seeing american beauty for the first time. seeing it a second time was a much more profound experience. to me it's about how easily we can lose perspective on life, and how we completely take advantage of the things we are truly blessed with. instead we choose to get lost in worldly possessions and our own personal success. we lose sight of others, our loved ones, friends, family. we lose sight of the beautiful things that god put on this earth for us to truly marvel at. anyways, the point of this film is how easily we can miss the true meaning of life. for a moment it's here, and the next moment it's gone. we need to appreciate what has been given to us, appreciate the people who have blessed our lives, and to never get confused with how the world expects us to live and act.

i had always heard your entire life flashes in front of your eyes the second before you die. first of all, that one second isn't a second at all, it stretches on forever, like an ocean of time... for me, it was lying on my back at boy scout camp, watching falling stars...and yellow leaves, from the maple trees, that lined our street... or my grandmother's hands, and the way her skin seemed like paper...and the first time i saw my cousin tony's brand new firebird...and janie...and janie...and...carolyn. i guess i could be pretty pissed off about what happened to me... but it's hard to stay mad, when there's so much beauty in the world. sometimes i feel like i'm seeing it all at once, and it's too much, my heart fills up like a balloon that's about to burst... and then i remember to relax, and stop trying to hold on to it, and then it flows through me like rain and i can't feel anything but gratitude for every single moment of my stupid little life...you have no idea what I'm talking about, i'm sure. but don't worry... you will someday.