American Beauty Film Essays

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Mendes uses film techniques such as the unpredictable panning on the plastic bag.

Mendes again uses symbolism in the form of rose petals to roses to symbolize true beauty in scenes where it is present, but in contrast he also uses roses in scenes where true beauty does not exist, and is yearning to.

This scene also supports the ‘cell’ symbol as a sticker on Lestor’s bored says ‘Look Closer’, which is an ironical statement which is directed to the viewers.

We see the director continually employing this symbolic technique of ‘jail cells’ to examine Lestor’s imprisonment from realization of true happiness, through the various cell settings.

We see the director, in the scene with Angela and Jane in Jane’s room, reflect on this contradiction of beauty.

This scene is a microcosm of the film itself as Ricky zooms past Angela, who we think and also society depicts as being beautiful and sexy, into the reflection of Jane’s face in the glass mirror, who is infidently embodying a rarer beautiful and interest.The film American Beauty adopts many negative attitudes of the American society it depicts.These attitudes explore the nature of imprisonment, true beauty and materialism.The video camera then zooms past Angela again focusing on Jane.This film technique is repeated from early in the film as Ricky is again only interested in Jane’s natural truly beautiful appearance and interesting image.We again see conflicting attitude of True beauty through the plastic bag video recording from Ricky.In this scene the constant panning of the video recording displays a wind caring circular movements around dead leaves, sometimes whipping it about violently, or without warning, sending it soaring skyward, floating gracefully down to the ground.This is again another ‘jail cell’ symbolic in the mirror as Jane is trapped in the perception of True beauty, ironically the viewer is also confused why Ricky is more interested in Jane.Here we see the director use the film technique of the video camera lens to view Jane and the sutle symbolic techniques used.This perception of True Beauty is again explored through Ricky’s video camera in the scene of filming a dead bird.When Ricky states he is filming the dead bird and Angela asks “Why? ” Through the video camera technique we again see the director depict True beauty as something in its natural form, not influenced by external factors.


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