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Thumbnail for American Beauty (1999) American Beauty (1999)

Basics Critics:77Viewers:76Rusty:84
Category: Comedy, Drama, RomanceNotable as: Romance Film, Award-Winning WorkSub-Category: Satire, LGBT, Existentialism, Black comedy, Romance Film, Comedy, Drama, MusicMain subject: virginity, dysfunctional familyNarrative location: CaliforniaRuntime: 100 - 122 minutesColor: colorLanguage: EnglishCountry: United StatesFilming location: Long BeachDirector: Sam MendesScreenwriter: Alan BallMusic: Thomas NewmanCinematography: Conrad HallStars: Kevin Spacey, Annette Bening, Thora Birch, Wes Bentley, Mena Suvari, Chris Cooper, Peter Gallagher, Allison Janney, Scott Bakula, Sam Robards Producer: Bruce Cohen, Dan JinksStudio: DreamWorksAwards won: Academy Award for Best Actor (Kevin Spacey)
Academy Award for Best Cinematography (Conrad Hall)
Academy Award for Best Director (Sam Mendes)
Academy Award for Best Picture (Bruce Cohen, Dan Jinks)
Academy Award for Best Writing, Original Screenplay (Alan Ball)
Amanda Award for Best Foreign Feature Film
Award nominations: Academy Award for Best Actress (Annette Bening)
Academy Award for Best Film Editing (Tariq Anwar)
Academy Award for Best Original Score (Thomas Newman)
Award details: (details at IMDb)

American Beauty is a 1999 American comedy-drama film directed by Sam Mendes and written by Alan Ball. Kevin Spacey stars as Lester Burnham, an office worker who has a midlife crisis when he becomes infatuated with his teenage daughter's best friend, Angela. Annette Bening co-stars as Lester's materialistic wife, Carolyn and Thora Birch plays their insecure daughter, Jane. Wes Bentley, Chris Cooper and Allison Janney also feature. The film has been described by academics as a satire of American middle class notions of beauty and personal satisfaction; analysis has focused on the film's explorations of romantic and paternal love, sexuality, beauty, materialism, self-liberation and redemption. Ball began writing American Beauty as a play in the early 1990s, partly inspired by the media circus around the Amy Fisher trial in 1992. He shelved the play after realizing the story would not work on stage. After several years as a television screenwriter, Ball revived the idea in 1997 when attempting to break into the film industry. The modified script had a cynical outlook that was influenced by Ball's frustrating tenures writing for several sitcoms.

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