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True or False - Looking closer at American Beauty - written by Elmar Ptz University of Koblenz English department Seminar Teaching Literature and Film Summer term 2003 Lecturer Prof Dr Michael Meyer Content 1Introduction2 2The characters3 3Linkage between the characters11 4Themes in American Beauty18 5False images and wrong expectations in American Beauty22 6Conclusion24 7Sources25 1 Introduction American Beauty is a film which plays with your expectations projects false images and turns these images upside down The weird thing is it starts even before you know it before you watch the film or open the book It is enough just to look at the film poster or the cover of the screenplay to trigger the process off You see the waist of a female apparently lying and playing with a red rose on her belly the bloom right next to her na-vel You see her hand with slim long fingers softly touching the rose and herself There are some drips of water on the bloom It is an erotic picture and it makes you wonder what the content of the film or screenplay might be The title American Beauty is written in black capital letters on the photograph the word beauty is written in bold letters Everything evokes the impression and expectation of some Lolita-like-film in which a man in his mid-forties is obsessing about a beautiful teenage-girl and eventually starts a sexual-relationship with her This kind of film is bound to end in tragedy To a certain degree this expectation is true but to a much larger degree it is wrong Luckily for us the key to unlock the secrets of American Beauty can be found on the same picture Written in small white letters below the title it says look closer It is funny though that you have to look pretty close to the poster to find the words urging you to look
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