A Piece for the Fire: Review of the film "American Beauty" with an emphasis on family and morals.

Essay by elmoraeCollege, UndergraduateA+, October 2006

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"American Beauty" is a film showing the internal and external struggles of two families. We see the dark, secretive side of the family, the things most people want to lock away, never to be seen. The movie shows family breakdowns, complete life changes, and peels away the façade many people use to hide their own short-comings. While many may see this film as a complete masterpiece, something which uncovers beauty in the ugliest of things, I found the film to be a misery. The violence, sexual content, personalities and situations of individual characters and the portrayal of the family in American Beauty cannot be forgiven simply because the film had "beautiful" moments.

In the movie, there were many times when characters used or were subject to violence. Of course, since this film is a slightly more realistic look at the modern family than say, The Brady Bunch, or other warm and fuzzy family television shows or films, it is to be expected that the truth of violence in the family will not be blunted.

Still, Colonel Fitts' angry outbursts directed with brutality toward his son, or even the moments when Lester or Carolyn Burnham lash out with bitter words towards one another are almost too much to take. American Beauty, like every drama that hits the silver screen, is expected by viewers to be proffered up as entertainment. By viewing the movie in such a manner, the audience must become desensitized to the violence which saturates the story, which, in turn, could have a similar effect on society by becoming accustomed to witnessing violence among friends and family. This cannot be stood for!

The sexual content of this film is another reason to raise an eyebrow. It is hard to find a movie today that does not have...