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American Beauty Spacey and Bening play with the husband wed Burnhams. They have a daughter Jane (Thora Birch) and also a wonderful house in the suburbs, replete with expensive tasteful furniture and a Mercedes SUV. Spacey's character is Lester, a sarcastic but weak-willed advertising writer who inwardly loathes his job as well as his wife with disdain - although he obeys her. Bening is Carolyn: a high-strung career-minded woman having the elaborately coiffured hair, garden, and way of life. They have such opposite interests, it is a wonder that they could live together. The film open with videotape footage of Jane whining about her father. A voice offscreen asks if she would like him "out of their way." "Yes. Can you?" she deadpans. Then our narrative begins as Lester's voice-over informs us that he is going to be dead within one year. It's no spoiler to show then that Lester's narration will take the dramatic burden of just one beyond the grave, such as William Holden in Sunset Boulevard. How we arrive at Lester's passing is unexpected, adventuresome, and yet still believable. Shortly into the movie, Lester understands a libidinous wake-up call in the form of Angela Hayes (Mena Suvari), one of Jane's high school buddies. Lester is due to her physical attractiveness, and makes an ass of himself showing it. Angela notices the older guy leering at her, but instead of being disgusted she enjoys it. As she tells Jane, "I like to understand that when I walk by, every man wishes to f*** me. That means I have a great likelihood of making it as a version." Angela is obsessed with external appearances, and some of it rubs off on Jane who is being amply endowed is rescuing her babysitting funds f.. .