AMERICAN BEAUTY. Presented by ： Angus, David H., David K., Denis, Didier, Ginger, Yvette. Nucleus Family and Suburban Life in America. Suburbia in the United States:
Presented by：Angus, David H., David K.,
Denis, Didier, Ginger, Yvette.
The Ideal Image of A Home: At the very beginning, also in the end of the film, we can see the neatly lined up houses. A perfect neighborhood, tranquil and peaceful ambience.
Normality: On the surface every house is identical, the shape, the silhouette, the colour of the houses, the size of the gardens…etc. However, the interior varies so are the different families. They encounter different obstacles and share different values.
Lester Burnham ---- Carolyn Burnham
[Lester and Carolyn are driving to the basketball game to watch Jane's dance team gig] Lester Burnham: Well what makes you so sure she wants us to be there? Did she ask us to come? Carolyn Burnham: Of course not. She doesn't want us to know how important this is to her. But she's been practicing her steps for weeks. Lester Burnham: Well, I'll bet money she's going to resent it, and I'm missing the James Bond marathon on TNT. Carolyn Burnham: Lester, this is important. I'm sensing a real distance growing between you and Jane. Lester Burnham: "Growing?" She hates me. Carolyn Burnham: She's just willful. Lester Burnham: She hates you too. (Clip)
Lester Burnham: Look at me, jerking off in the shower... This will be the high point of my day; it's all downhill from here.
Before: He cares very much about Jane, more than he shows. He tries to talk to her a few times but was turned down by her. Later on he stopped being so nice to her out of frustration.
After: Lester Burnham: You better watch yourself, Jane, or you're going to turn into a real BITCH, just like your MOTHER!
He is humorous and easy-going. We can tell from his interaction with Ricky Fitts and his neighbours (the homosexual couple.) Also, from his conversation with Ricky, he used to get laid and all that…Shows there it is possible that Lester used to be quite popular.
Carolyn Burnham: This is a $4,000 sofa, upholstered in Italian silk. It is not just a couch.
Lester Burnham: [shouts] It's just a couch!
Lester and Carolyn are on different levels of values. Lester tries to convince his wife (above) but in vain. He then becomes ‘numb’ to her complains and ignores her demands. He also starts exercising his individual freedom, which may challenge Carolyn’s convention.
Carolyn Burnham: Uh, whose car is that out front?
Lester Burnham: Mine. 1970 Pontiac Firebird. The car I've always wanted and now I have it. I rule! (Clip?)
Lester’s relationship with Angela can be interpreted differently.
★ The Relationship between Will and Desire.
★ The desire is a kind of drive, we all run on desire fuel so we become fascinated with life and purpose. When we have something in mind, and we want to go after it, we become more creative and productive.
★ Angela brings a new desire into Lester’s life, which inspires him to change his way of living.
Clips: For years I was like being in a coma, and now I am awake…
(Lying on the bed, with Angela on the ceiling covered with roses)
Roses: The symbol that interweaved the film
In Lester’s imaginary world, Angela is always covered with roses. Roses stands for sexual lust and is the commonly used to represent beauty.
Roses come out flying from Angela’s breasts.
Roses dropped from the ceiling where Angela lie looking down at him on his bed.
Angela taking a hot bath filled with roses.
Lester imagined Angela touching him, and pull out a pedal from his own mouth.
Here the rose pedal is produced by Lester himself. Angela provides only her image, however, Lester can project the original imagine into his own dream world, can her seem more seductive. And so he’s desired is provoked and can later on, be satisfied.
There are many scenes that Lester is present behind the windows. It seems like Lester is trapped inside the building.- For instance: Through Ricky Fitts’ camera, we see Lester working out behind the window. The shadows of the bars on the windows cast on Lester’s body like he was caged within it.
The photos of Burnham family appears very often through out the film.
The family, as the photo frame that bound the three of them together. The smiles in the photos shows the time that they used to be happy, and enjoy each other’s company. That is the reason of Lester’s frequent flash backs. And the solid evidence of how much he cherishes his time with Carolyn and Jane. The ending part clip*
“and, at least once a day, retiring to the men's room so I can jerk off while I fantasize about a life that doesn't so closely resemble Hell."
The only way I could save myself now is if I start firebombing.
[Lester throws the asparagus plate at the wall] Don't interrupt me, honey!
“Oh, yeah, and one more thing, from now on we're going to have alternate dinner music because frankly - and I don't think I'm alone here“ “I'm tired of this Lawrence Welk shit!”
Work Doing stuff he doesn’t want to do forcedly
Too honest and ordinary to be neglected (didn’t get promoted to the place he deserved)
"My job consists of basically masking my contempt for the assholes in charge,”
“for 14 years I've been a whore for the advertising industry”
Family Being looked down by his wife and daughter
“I am sick and tired of being treated like I don't exist. You two do whatever you want, whenever you want to do it, and I don't complain. ”
*In the kitchen“We used to be pals”
*At the dinner table “I mean, hello you’ve barely even spoken to me for months”
*Family pictures of them displayed everywhere in the house
*Narrating about Jane, trying to know her ”angry, insecure, confused” ”I wish I could tell her that’s all going to pass, but I don’t want to lie to her”
*On the way to the stadium “What make sure she wants us to be there?” ”Did she ask us to come?” ”I’ll bet she’s going to resent it”
*Asked Angela How’s Jane “Is she happy? Is she miserable” “I’d really like to know, and she’d die before she’d ever tell me about it”
*Look at the photo (Before he died), his satisfied peaceful smile
*The flashback of his life at the moment he died, he saw Jane a lot of times Her importance in his mind
*At the dinner table, asked her how was her school Received coldness( short and heartless answer)
*To get her attention by being humorous ”What do you expect? You can’t all the sudden be my best friend just because you had a bad day”
*In the kitchen (After dinner) feel sorry about the distance, apologized to her Received coldness (Jane walked away)
*In the Kitchen (In the morning)“You’d better watch out Janie, or you’re going turn into a real bitch just like your mother”
*Quit his job very carelessly and mindlessly (Confident)
Catering Boss: I'm not paying you to do... whatever it is you're doing out here. Ricky Fitts: Fine. So don't pay me. Catering Boss: Excuse me? Ricky Fitts: I quit. So you don't have to pay me. Now leave me alone. Catering Boss: ...asshole. Lester Burnham: I think you just became my personal hero!
*Drug dealing with denial and courage Ricky Fitts: “My dad thinks I pay for all this with catering jobs. Never underestimate the power of denial”
*Pink Floyd (While buying drugs from him)
Lester Burnham: When I was your age, I flipped burgers all summer just to be able to buy an eight-track. Ricky Fitts: That sucks. Lester Burnham: No, actually it was great. All I did was party and get laid. I had my whole life ahead of me.
*They greeted each other Frank didn’t react much
*Buying drugs from Ricky knew him collecting his son’s urine
normal neighborhood sudden affectionate confession tragic death end
ex: Interacted with the gay neighbor.
ex: - She is the one who
- Owning the command
of dinner music.
Carolyn : Are you trying to look unattractive?
Carolyn : Well, congratulations. You've succeeded admirably.
Carolyn : Honey, I'm so proud of you. I watched you very closely, and you didn't screw up once!
- Carolyn Burnham: My company sells an image. It's part of my job to live that image.
- Sale House Woman : The ad said this pool was lagoon-like. There's nothing lagoon-like about it, except for the bugs. There aren't even any plants out here! Carolyn Burnham: What do you call this? Is this not a plant? If you have a problem with my plants, I can always call my landscape architect! Solved!
Quote: Carolyn Burnham: You ungrateful little brat! Just look at everything you have. When I was your age, we... lived in a duplex! We didn't even have our own house!
- Buddy Kane: Do you like getting nailed by the King? Carolyn : Yes, your majesty! - Carolyn: That was exactly what I needed. The royal treatment, so to speak.
Janine: You’re so busted.
Carolyn: You know, this really doesn’t concern you.
Quote:「I love shooting this gun.」
I refuse to be a victim
“I watched you very closely. You didn’t screw up once.” [18:00]
“You cannot count on anyone except
“You ungrateful little brat!”
Wrong way of teaching and
being a model.
Clips (I’ll put it)
The scene of the plastic bag
Childhood：being sent to the hospital
“he would always save the most random, weird things” 00:27
Family ：strict dad and wordless mom
- smoking dope & selling drugs having a respectable job
- the discipline father (military background)
- the “careless” mother (hasn’t known Ricky didn’t eating bacon for years)
~ Never underestimate the power of denial. (00:10:05)
~ Sometimes there's so much…beauty…in the world.
- plastic bag
- dead stuffs
(bird, homeless woman, and Lester)
~ Ricky: When you see something like that, it's like God is looking right at you, just
for a second, and if you're careful, you can look right back…
Jane: And what do you see?
Carolyn& Bobby Success
Angela & Ricky’s dad Perfection
Ricky’s mom Obedience (Death Living)
Ricky Seize the beauty
~ Sometimes there's so much…beauty…
in the world .I feel like I can't take it...
and my heart...is just going to…cave in.
[you're boring, and you're totally ordinary]
Ricky Ricky’s dad
[What a sad…old man you are.]
[You'd rather he had the crush on you.]
A. In the dining room
- The reaction to the
B. In the living room
1. No conversation
A. Reaction to people he
1. Passive attitude
2. Unfriendly and hostile
B. How he introduce
1. Address himself with title
2. Colonel Frank Fitts, US
A. A typical father
B. A Colonel
What a sad old man
A. Sense of empathy
Frank: “Your wife is with another man, and...you don’t care?”
Leister: “Nope, our marriage is just for show, a commercial for how normal we are.”
2. Jane, Angela and Rick are in the same school. But Rick moved in to the neighborhood in which Jane lives. As a result, Jane’s relationships with Rick become closer than that with Angela’s duo to the identification Jane figures out with Rick.
4. extraordinary one and therefore looks down upon Ricky because of his weird behavior.Angela seems to be a strong girl but in reality she is quite weak. We can see this from the reactions she shows when she learns that Jane and Ricky are going to be couple.
5. Another weakness can be seen by the desire she has to have sex with Lester, who is the father of Jane. Thus, she aspires to become the spotlight of all the people around her, including Lester.
6. The rose petals appearing from Angela are representing the loneliness and desire of both Angela and Lester. Angela hopes to get the affection by Lester, whereas Lester seeks the power of being a true man from Angela.