Editor’s note: We watched American Beauty a while ago and forgot to write about it, so I’m not sure where it really fits in our chronology of movies. But here you go!
I should of watched this in high school, it has so many people and themes I would have been very into at the time. Watching the film now though, it just looks and feels so 90’s I don’t think it had the same impact on me know as it would of when I was younger. I still found the story to be interesting and I wanted to know what each character was going through, but I just feel like I missed the boat on this movie.
I wanted to see this movie so bad when it came out. Unfortunately, I was 11 at the time and couldn’t go, even after it was re-released a little while later with all the Oscar buzz around it. I remember being so sure my mom would let me see it when it was re-released for some reason, even though it was less than a year later. But anyway.
A lot of my feelings about American Beauty are clouded by the fact that I’ve seen it so many times at so many stages of my life. I did finally see it when it came out on video, with my mom fast forwarding through Lester (Kevin Spacey)’s shower masturbation scene. So I saw it in early middle school, and then multiple times in high school and college. So I’ve definitely been able to relate to it in different ways over the years; I always found Jane (Thora Birch) to be a character that really spoke to me. Her angst seemed genuine and well-deserved, and her relationship to Angela (Mena Suvari) was eerily similar to a friendship I had at the time I first watched it. Now I definitely can see parts of myself in the parents, too, and understand their problems more.
This is just such a great movie. And I have to say, I know the “paper bag floating in the wind” scene gets a lot of shit, but in the context of the movie and what the characters are going through at the time, it really is beautiful.