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American Beauty (1999) Summation and Analysis

American Beauty says the story of one man's seek out joy. The film presents the audience to Lester Burnham, an regular- looking wedded man and father in his forties. Lester is in a loveless marriage. Lester's partner, Carolyn, is so wrapped-up in her real property career that Lester often claims that Carolyn doesn't even acknowledge him. Furthermore, Lester's little girl, Jane, is completely distant, often saying how "pathetic" she feels her daddy is. In addition, Lester has dedicated fourteen years to his job, and suddenly, he's in danger of shedding his job credited to downsizing. Many of these factors considerably effect Lester and culminate into feelings of desperation and vulnerability for him. Lester is therefore searching for a getaway and a rebirth. He's seeking the slightest probability of happiness. Through the entire storyline Lester is regularly reminiscing on his former; wishing he could own it back. In the beginning portions of the storyplot, Lester, as the narrator, state governments that "it is never too past due to regain your recent. " The catalyst to the framework of thought is Jane's good friend, Angela. Lester seems excited by the idea that a teen-age girl thinks he is "hot. " Lester overhears Angela state that she would have sex with him if Lester would start working-out and build-up his body. This drives Lester to improve himself completely. Lester, in needy search of contentment, finds an escape in Angela. Much such as a hormone-driven teenage youngster, Lester considers that if he can "score" with a "bombshell" like Angela, then he will be reborn. Lester's mission for happiness and get away from is further perpetuated by his eighteen time old neighbor, Ricky. In Ricky, Lester recognizes his model for rebirth.

Lester phone calls Ricky his "hero" and it is in awe of Ricky's confidence. Lester, then commences a transformation back again to his stereotypical knowledge of what a teenager is. Lester starts to work-out, smoke cigars pot, and drink beverage. Much like a young, he rebels against responsibility by quitting his job and; therefore, bypassing his obligations as a professional to his child and wife. Furthermore, Lester spontaneously, deals in his Mercedes vehicle for a 1970's cherry-red Trans Am sports car. Furthermore, Lester pursues employment with the least amount of responsibility. He finds that job in an easy food restaurant. All of these actions are regarded essential to Lester because this is actually the way to flee and thus obtaining enjoyment. The first scene where the audience is presented to Lester's change process is when he first sites Angela. Lester and Carolyn decided to come and support Jane at a university golf ball game where she is to perform a boogie at half-time. This landscape is significant because it shows how Angela's sexuality determined Lester to rebel against who he is. Furthermore, this arena exemplifies Lester's characteristics as a hormone-crazed man in search of sex. This structure of thought is associated more with teenagers than with men in their forties. The first two complex elements used to exemplify this scene are structure and camera motion. The scene begins with Lester and Carolyn already in the stands with the masses. Angela, Jane, and the other cheerleaders get into the picture with to left movement aided by way of a panning camera shot of to still left. This foreshadows the unordinary actions that are going to arise. Almost immediately, into the dance routine, Angela is given an upwards position in the framework elevated with strong composition. It is dynamic composition since there is movement (Angela dancing) within a fixed frame. Giving Angela an upwards position within the frame this suggest Lester is first realizing her. As the arena remains, and Angela has Lester's full attention, Angela is shown moving towards the camera in another active structure shot complemented by the camera zooming in on her behalf. This gives the audience a concept regarding the degree of attention that Lester is offering to Angela due to her sexuality.

It also improves her presence. The scene carries on with a static composition shot of Lester. It really is static composition since there is no movements within the framework. The camera then begins to focus in on Lester. As the camera zooms, the crowd is eliminated in support of Lester is shown in the shape. Furthermore, the camera focuses on Lester's sight and makes them appear bigger than they are actually. This makes Lester appear to be an dog drooling at the mouth area over something he needs. At this point, the camera executes a point of view shot displaying what Lester's eyes are fixated on, and targets Angela. This, once more, displays the degree of enchantment that Angela has put over Lester. Angela is also shown alone in the shape. This demonstrates in Lester's brain, only Angela and himself can be found currently. Not his princess is of any relevance. The arena concludes with the camera then performing a shot-reverse-shot of Angela then Lester. This enables the audience to observe that in Lester's fantasy, Angela is dance erotically simply for him and it is paying as much attention to him as he is paying to her. It is important to notice that Angela and Lester are never shown in the same shape in this scene. This claim that there is certainly some barrier that is between them like the reality Lester is desiring a girl that is his daughter's age. Lamps is another complex element that increases the effectiveness of the scene. When the camera performs a spot of view shot from Lester's perspective showing the audience that he is fixated on Angela; Angela is shown by herself in the shape. As mentioned above, this is showing that Angela is the one subject of Lester's attention.

Lighting increases this effect. Lamps is used to focus the audience on Lester's sight and show that he is being enchanted by what he recognizes. As Angela is shown only in the body, the backdrop in the shot becomes completely dark-colored. There's a bright light shining on Angela. The source of the light is not yet determined, and is via above Angela. The light in the world is high distinction and low key. It is high compare because the difference between light and darkness is clear. It is low key lamps because Angela's shadow can be seen behind her and shadows can be seen on the rest of Lester's face, excluding his eye. . The contributions that the lamps effect has in this scene are many. To begin with, the light glowing only on Angela increases the audience understanding that Angela is the thing of Lester's attention. Second of all, light is usually associated with good and darkness with bad. The light compliments Angela's characteristics because she actually is a virgin. Since the source of the light can't be seen, there can be speculation that the light is one from Heaven, shining down on her behalf showing her innocence. At the same time, Angela is wanting to be someone that she actually is not. She constantly boasts throughout the movie that she is sexually experienced. The darkness in the backdrop of the shot can be the foreshadowing of what to come if she proceeds on this course of lies. Even though she may be a virgin, unknowingly to Lester; Lester views her and is pondering bad thoughts. He's fixated with her sexuality, as shown through the boogie routine his fantasy has Angela perform. Lester's thoughts which symbolize darkness, are shown as surrounding Angela and her innocence. Enhancing complements this picture by adding more classification to the "relationship-to-be" between Angela and Lester. The entire scene uses decoupage.

It is decoupage because the clipping is overly busy which suggests an almost chaotic and imbalance point of view to the audience and at the same time it demonstrates the thoughts that are going through Lester's mind are not typical, instead they can be chaotic. Also, decoupage has a tendency to use close-ups. This picture has a great deal of zoom injections of Angela and Lester. Furthermore, it is important to notice that Angela and Lester should never be shot along in the world. They are independently shot in a shot-reverse-shot fashion. This suggest a disunity between your both of them. Again, something is separating the both of them, including the age gap. Not including the lack of decoupage and ellipsis is important in this scene. Absence of decoupage takes a decelerated speed. A slower tempo would take away from the chaotic sensation that decoupage brings and; therefore, wouldn't normally indicate well on the relationship-to-be between Angela and Lester. Using ellipsis would require fast-paced slicing that would compare and contrast the actions happening in this scene with another field. This would disturb the arena and eliminate its efficiency. By showing the degree of love between Angela and Lester in his illusion; the audience learns much about Lester's motives and transformation. The usage of sound increases the performance of both Angela's techniques and Lester's thoughts in this arena. The scene starts with Jane, Angela, and the other cheerleaders dance to a wordless version of "On Broadway. " That is parallel diegetic reasonable because it relates to what can be seen on display. The usage of this tune is important to the theme of the movie. Lester is about to go on a quest to be free. Lester will pursue happiness. In the same way, "On Broadway" is approximately pursuing a fresh experience. "On Broadway" speaks about coming to NY and being taken aback by all the lamps and appeal of the town. In the same manner, Lester is about to be taken aback by an "American beauty", Angela. Further in the world, through shot-reverse-shot fashion, only Angela and Lester are in the body (they are shown independently); the track "On Broadway" and the crowd cannot be been told. This is an example of contrapuntal audio.

Contrapuntal sound will involve muting audio beyond what one would normally notice if he/she were for the reason that scene. Applying this devise adds to the audience understanding the quantity of attention that Lester is presenting Angela. Lester, in his dream, is so infatuated with Angela that it would appear that he can "zone-out" all the other tremendous noise occurring during a baseball game. During Lester's fantasy, as Angela is dancing within an extremely erotic manner, coming in contact with her body around, a slow and erotic songs begins to try out. The songs has an enchanting and Latin defeat to it that intensifies the feelings from the audience's point of view; providing clues in regards to what Lester's intentions are with Angela. That is an example of non-diegetic sound. It is sound that does not have its source in the image. The second scene of interest occurs when Lester's erotic dreams are about to become truth. Lester and Angela are in his house. Lester has confessed to Angela that "he sought her because the first-time he laid eye upon her. " The scene commences with Lester laying Angela down on a sofa so he could have sex with her. This landscape is vital because Angela and her virginity is ideal for the taking, but Lester comes to a realization and refuses to have sex. Lester transforms once more, from the teenage rebel he previously become, back to the man he was. He emerged to understand, because so many children do when they become adult men, that love-making is not the key element to joy. Lester does want his history back. However, he wished back days gone by that included the family he previously lost. Composition and camera movements are used in this scene. As the scene begins, Lester has Angela and is laying her down on the sofa. This is a powerful shot with downward movements. It is powerful because there is movement within a set structure. The downward movement signifies an action that's not positive, such as Lester having sex with a teenager. Furthermore, the downward movements implies something lost, such as Angela's virginity and innocence. If they have sex, both of these will be lost forever.

This shot is also a canted shot. It is a canted shot because Angela shows up at a 45 level viewpoint in the structure. This suggest that things are bizarre which Angela's viewpoint is slanted. A bizarre sex act is going to arise, and Angela is inexperienced, and doesn't know the first thing about why she should be making love. As the arena persists, the camera pans from kept to right and to left pursuing Lester's hands as each goes along Angela's body. The camera movements intensifies the erotic feeling in the audience. The camera then moves to a powerful crane shot, displaying Lester's hands unbuttoning Angela's blouse. That shot is then followed by shot-reverse shot of Angela and Lester looking at each other. Angela, is given the reduced viewpoint, looking-up at Lester, which implies that Lester is in control. This complements the theory that culture considers it a "macho" action for the person to maintain control. Still thinking under the mentality of an hormone-crazed teenager, Lester seems good. It is important to note that Lester and Angela aren't shown in the same shot during these actions. Therefore disunity and an ironic separation because they are about to engage in the most close activity two humans can tell one another. It is also important to notice, that during the crane injections, Angela is regularly given the bigger position in the frame. Therefore that she is genuine and innocent because usually good elements receive the bigger position over bad elements (such as heaven being in the sky and hell down under). As Lester is ready to begin the gender act, Angela reveals that she actually is a virgin.

It is at this point that Lester realizes what he's doing and stops. This shot is a strong shot with a crane. It is as if, by some divine treatment, Lester came to understand the mistake of his ways before it was too later. The field concludes with a strong shot of Lester apologizing to Angela and, for the very first time in this arena, they are arena in the same body. This time, Lester is given the higher position in the body. This symbolizes that he has come to a realization and pays. The utilization of light in this picture means many symbolic meanings. Throughout the entire world Angela is taken with light. For instance, when the scene begins, Angela is laid down by Lester on a sofa. Angela is wearing a white blouse, the sofa she is lying on is white, and the light from outside the house is dimly shining on her behalf, emphasizing the fact that she is putting on white. The light and the color white represent purity: Angela is a virgin. On the other hand, Lester is shown with even less light. As the camera uses his hands erotically going up and down Angela's body; Lester's hands receive the least amount light possible in order to stress the impurity aspect of what he's doing. The lamps in this landscape is low comparison and low key. It really is low compare because the light used was dim and was somewhat gray. Therefore a sense of mystery because the audience recognizes that Carolyn is on the path to the house to wipe out Lester. Also, the audience is doubtful if Lester is going to go through with making love with Angela.

It is low key because both Angela's and Lester's shadows is seen. Editing and enhancing is very significant in this picture. Decoupage is employed throughout this arena. Decoupage implies that you will see fast-paced cutting. That is essential in this scene in order to add to the thrills of the field. Angela and Lester are at the idea of no go back. It isn't clear what will happen. Overly busy reducing accelerates the speed of the arena, as almost to provide the audience with exhilaration. In this case, the type of excitement that a teenage youngster, or Lester, in cases like this, would feel before having sex. However, unlike the previous scene, this scene uses an ellipsis. This occurs when Lester is massaging his hands around Angela's thighs. The picture slices to Jane and Ricky. Both of them are about to run away to NY. The ellipsis occurs to show the audience what has caused Jane to get this done. Lester never taken notice of Jane. Instead, he centered on her good friend. All Jane wanted was attention from her father, but Lester was preoccupied with being irresponsible and chasing after a girl.

The landscape then switches back to Angela and Lester. It's important to notice that Angela and Lester should never be shot in the same structure while sex continues to be a possibility between the both of them. Instead, they are simply taken in a shot-reverse-shot fashion. When Lester realizes the error he has made, both of these are shot in the same structure as a two-shot showing unity and resolution over the dilemma. Sound can be used greatly in this scene. As the picture begins non-diegetic audio can be used. This sound does not have any source in the image. The audio is music played out by the piano and chimes. The music gives the audience a sense of the erotica that is occurring on the display between Angela and Lester. In addition, it assists a connector to Lester's fantasies. Whenever, Lester fantasizes, an erotic music is used. This time around, his fantasy is about to become a reality. The music comes to an abrupt end when Angela reveals that she is a virgin. Out of the blue, Lester realizes that he cannot have sex with an adolescent. The stopping of the music symbolized the final outcome of that dream as well as marked his go back to manhood. Throughout this field, it was raining outside the house. If you were in the landscape you'd be able to listen to raindrops. However, not in cases like this. This exemplifies the use of contrapuntal sound. The raindrops were not heard during this scene. Thus giving the audience a concept of the quantity of concentration that Lester was, once again, offering Angela. While Angela was around, nothing else mattered to Lester. Lester's inability to deal with difficult situations, coupled with his dependence on freedom and shortage for responsibility, appear to have been too much. Regrettably, he understood that too later.

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