American Beauty
American Beauty (1999)

A biting, penetrating and often humorous take on contemporary life in suburban America, Lester Burnham becomes intrigued by a young girl named Angela, and this fascination sparks him to make some major changes in his life. He relishes these… More

Directed By:
Rated: R
Running Time:
Genre: Drama, Comedy
Release Date: October 1, 1999
DVD Release Date: January 2, 2002
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Critic Score: 88% Rotten Tomatoes™ Critic Reviews

Consensus: Flawlessly cast and brimming with dark, acid wit, American Beauty is a smart, provocative high point of late '90s mainstream Hollywood film.

Paul Clinton (

American Beauty is deeply disturbing, acerbically funny, brilliantly acted, breathtakingly original and highly sophisticated.

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Rex Reed
New York Observer

Kevin Spacey gives the performance of his life.

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Ann Hornaday
Baltimore Sun

A tightly coiled rage seethes beneath the pretty surface of American Beauty, a wickedly funny black comedy directed by newcomer Sam Mendes.

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Jeff Strickler
Minneapolis Star Tribune

This is Spacey's best performance since he took home an Oscar for The Usual Suspects.

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John Hartl
Seattle Times

Alan Ball's script is a terrific piece of material, and Mendes responds directly to its subversive, provocative vision of a curdled American Dream.

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Bill Gallo
New Times

This seriocomic autopsy of middle-class virtue has the capacity to startle and surprise, and a gift for finding grim humor at the heart of tragedy.

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Joe Morgenstern
Wall Street Journal

Why, then, did I enjoy it so little? Because of its unrelenting self-importance: American Beauty wants us to know, in every shot at every turn, just how clever and mercilessly cutting it is.

Jami Bernard
New York Daily News

American Beauty approaches a manic, almost cartoonish edge without falling over. Both Spacey and Bening use extraordinary comic timing to bring these very sad, lost characters to life.

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Ed Potton
Times (UK)

This engrossing centrepiece meshes with subplots involving Burnham's dysfunctional family and unbalanced neighbours, in a virtuoso study of isolation, repression and fulfilment. Mendes infuses the lush visuals and lyrical script with dramatic panache.

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More reviews for American Beauty

Flixster Audience Score: 93% Flixster User Reviews
Adriel Lim
Exceptionally quirky, entertainingly intelligent and witty and finally and importantly, stirringly poignant.
Louis Rogers
A powerful, peerless disassembly of the american dream, midlife crises and the suburbian experience. Wry, haunting and poetic.
xGary Xx
Lester Burnham is undergoing a serious midlife crisis; pining for his lost youth and obsessing over a teenage cheerleader, he's married to a joyless… More
Red Lats
Thought provoking movie. On one hand, Lester is motivated to make significant changes to his life - some positive. On the other hand, lusting after one of… More
Directors Cat
Cameron Sherwell
A highly watchable dissembowlment of the American dream, Kevin Spacey leads the cast as his character Lester Burnham goes through a midlife crisis and falls in… More