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George Sand French romantic writer hit the nail right on the head when he said this in 1872 Appearance versus reality has been a central theme in many American creative works The film American Beauty is not an exception American Beauty is a motion picture that delves into your typical middle-class suburban American home and slowly uncovers all of the abnormalities that lie within In this case the Burnham family is portrayed as normal but as the film later suggests things are not always as they seem Lester Burnham Kevin Spacey at the age of 42 has become negative and indifferent about every aspect of his life His spouse Caroline Annette Bening is driven entirely by greed and desire for status and success in her profession that she has no time for any form of intimacy Their daughter Jane Thora Birtch is an insecure troubled teenager that only wants to find somebody that will understand and love her These distressed characters through the years have taken refuge in routine and not confronted their true needs In time they are awakened by different situations that drag them out of this monotonous routine and throw them into a complex cycle of self recognition and rebellion Lesters awakening is prompted by two events The first is the potential of unemployment a situation which seems charmingly liberating The second is Janes best friend Angela Mena Suvari an attractive teenager who captures his attention and arouses his sexual interest Now not having the responsibilities of a job he puts all his effort in reconstructing his appearance his personality and his outlook on life Carolyns perspective is also changing Frustrated by her relationship with her husband she begins an affair with a fellow real estate agent who calls himself The King Peter Gallagher Meanwhile Jane displeased with her physical appearance is saving up for breast augmentation surgery something she clearly does not need As the film progresses she develops an unusual
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