November 11, 2008
Lester Burnham’s Transformation
American Beauty was probably the best film of 1999 and of that decade. This dark comedy drama marks a fantastic feature film debuts with Alan Ball as writer and Sam Mendes as director (both winning Oscars for their excellent efforts) American Beauty is a film that took my breath away when I first saw this movie and dropped delicate questions in my head about the nature of human behavior and the abyss between fantasy and reality. Every character is a part of each of us: the Lester Burnham of change, the Carolyn of uncertainty and failure, the rebellion of Jane, the defeated Barbara, the false control of Angela and the Colonel, and the real control of Ricky. Many of this characters exhibit symptoms of severely low self esteem, but in my opinion there is one character that suffer a bigger transformation. Lester Burnham is the greatest example of a phoenix re-born from the ashes; his feelings go through a dramatic transformation from a very low self appreciation to like himself and his live.
This character is presented to us as a loser who plays the subjugated figure in the home and at work. He appears resigned to an unhappy life in which he is treated badly by his wife and daughter and his boss at work. Lester Burnham in a mid-life crisis caused by his stressed wife Carolyn and rebelling teenage daughter Jane, represent the closer look to the American family that has the entire American dream come thru already but on the inside is empty. He plays the...