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Poster for American Beauty
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American Beauty

Director: Sam Mendes Run Time: 122 min. Format: DCP Rating: R Release Year: 1999

Starring:  Allison Janney,  Annette Bening,  Chris Cooper,  Mena Suvari,  Peter Gallagher,  Thora Birch,  Wes Bentley, Kevin Spacey

A story about a perverted midlife crisis in suburbia begins with a bang in Sam Mendes’ AMERICAN BEAUTY.

Mendes’ biting and often humorous take on the mundanity of suburban life captures the disintegration of the American dream at the turn of the century. American Beauty opens with a video recording featuring a teenager wishing her perverted father dead and an off-camera voice obliging this request. As the scene shifts to aerial city views, a dead man starts narrating the story of his life and the demise the audience is now well aware of (like Sunset Boulevard). This man is Lester Burnham whose midlife crisis and sexual frustration has lead to an obsession with his daughter’s best friend and complete life overhaul which, despite his best efforts, don’t have a happy ending.

Part of Nitehawk’s January THE END IS THE BEGINNING brunch series.