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Anonymous asked in Entertainment & MusicMovies · 1 decade ago

Full summary of American Beauty?

from beginning to end events of what happened in the movie

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  • 1 decade ago
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    The film begins with a man narrating about himself, revealing that he will be dead in less than a year. He, Lester Burnham (Kevin Spacey), is a cynical 42-year-old advertiser who hates his job and lives in the suburbs. His wife, Carolyn (Annette Bening), is an ambitious but bitter realtor. Their daughter Jane (Thora Birch) is a teenage cheerleader contemplating plastic surgery. Neither Lester nor Carolyn are happy with their marriage, and each blames the other one for their unhappiness. They spend dinner bickering across the table, which costs both of them Jane's respect.

    A family consisting of Colonel Frank Fitts, USMC (Chris Cooper), his emotionally detached wife Barbara (Allison Janney) and their introspective son Ricky (Wes Bentley) moves next door to the Burnhams. Jane soon notices Ricky videotaping her through her bedroom window, which secretly flatters her.

    Lester finds motivation for transforming himself after meeting Angela Hayes (Mena Suvari), Jane's best friend and classmate. Angela, a beautiful, confident and apparently promiscuous cheerleader who aspires to be a model, captivates Lester the moment he sees her perform a school dance routine at a basketball game. He develops an obvious crush on her, much to Jane's embarrassment and disgust. Angela, however, finds Lester "sweet" and later comments to Jane that if he were more muscular, she would "totally **** him," which Lester overhears. He then starts an intensive workout regimen.

    Following a meeting at a realtor's convention, Carolyn begins an extramarital affair with rival realtor Buddy Kane (Peter Gallagher), whom she admires for his success. At his advice, she begins relieving her stress at a shooting range. Lester becomes insubordiante towards the "efficiency expert" hired by his company which results in his termination, though he is able to blackmail his boss for an enormous severance package. He begins work anew at a fast food restaurant, Mr. Smiley's, wanting the job with the "least possible amount of responsibility," which infuriates Carolyn, who now has to shoulder the bulk of the household bills. Jane and Ricky bond over camcorder footage of a plastic bag "dancing" in the wind, which Ricky considers the most beautiful thing he has ever recorded. Ricky also bonds with Lester over recollections of the B-movies Re-Animator and Beastmaster which is used as a pretext to Lester purchasing high-grade marijuana from Ricky.

    Some time later, Carolyn and Buddy Kane enter the drive-thru of the fast food restaurant where Lester now works. The unintended meeting leads Buddy to break it off with Carolyn. She angrily drives home with her gun with the intention of confronting her husband. Meanwhile, Lester calls Ricky to the house for marijuana, raising the suspicions of an already angry Col. Fitts, who watches the two in Lester's garage. Ricky rolls a joint while Lester lounges on a couch, but due to his perspective Col. Fitts believes that he has just seen his son performing fellatio. He aggressively confronts Ricky upon his return home, and recognizing the opportunity to be free from his family, Ricky plays in to his father's mistaken impression, claiming that he is a prostitute. Col. Fitts becomes violent, and disowns him.

    Ricky asks Jane to leave with him for New York City. Jane not only agrees, but offers to supply money that she has been saving for a breast augmentation, though Ricky is unconcerned with money as his marijuana sales provide him a steady source of income and a cache of $40,000. Angela, who is visiting Jane's house, accuses both of being "freaks," to which Ricky retorts that she is ugly, ordinary, and boring. Angela is devastated, the implication being that Ricky has exposed her deepest fear; that she suspects she is indeed ordinary. At the same time, Lester is quietly approached in his garage while working out by a distraught Col. Fitts, who has been out in the rain. Lester attempts to comfort Col. Fitts who kisses him, believing him to be a homosexual based on what he had seen earlier. Despite his homophobia, Fitts is revealed to be a closeted gay man. Lester rejects this advance calmly as a misunderstanding, and Fitts leaves, humiliated.

    Lester finds a vulnerable Angela in tears. He admits his attraction to her, and that he has been working out. He begins to undress her, but she admits that she is a virgin. This gives him pause and he relents. Conversing with Angela in the kitchen, Lester realizes that he is truly happy. As Angela heads to the bathroom, Lester contemplates an old photo of his smiling family - unaware that a gun is being held to the back of his head. The movie ends with Lester's description of his life flashing before his eyes, interspersed with scenes of his family and others at the moment of the gunshot. Ricky and Jane react from the upstairs bedroom, Angela from a bathroom, Carolyn from outside the front door (where she had been approaching the house with her own gun to confront her husband). As Carolyn disposes of her gun and weeps for Lester, Col. Fitts is seen back in his own house removing latex gloves and a blood soaked shirt.

  • 4 years ago

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