A Look at the Heart of American Beauty
Sam Mendes' darkly comic portrayal of suburbia in his first movie, American Beauty (1999) takes a hard look at what happens when you've accomplished the American Dream only to realize that it isn't enough. Lester, the film's anti-hero wakes up one morning deep in a mid life crisis and decides that he wants something more then the life he has carved out for himself and proceeds to search for that something and in the process, disrupts the lives of those around him, particularly his wife Caroline. Through his use of color and surrealist elements Mendes shows how passionless and unhappy Caroline and Lester are in their seemingly perfect world and how true happiness lies not in doing what's expected or in material goods but in finding the beauty in being true to yourself.
The color red and roses are a symbol of passion and desire and Mendes uses the combination to symbolize the lack of passion and in turn the misplaced desires in the character's lives. Caroline, Lester's wife is a woman who on the outside seems to have it all: a family, a big house, and a great career. But we soon find out that nothing in Caroline's world is perfect except for the red roses she takes great pride and care in growing.
These roses can be found everywhere: lining the yard, on end tables, the center piece on the dining room table and even in the home she's trying to sell. The roses represent the passion that Caroline has lost for life but can't admit she no longer has. She is a deeply unhappy woman who tries to mask that unhappiness by projecting forth an image of perfection. She believes that if she thinks positive then everything will be okay. She listens to and recites daily affirmations to herself to keep up her positive mental state. The truth of the matter is that she is in a loveless marriage, is estranged form her child and is in a career she hates.
She envies and later desires the success (and attention) of her rival, the "Real Estate King" whose image is portrayed by big red signs placed in the yards of the homes he is selling. She learns form him that "In order to be successful one must project the image of success at all times." Caroline's roses are the embodiment of that idea since they are the only thing in her life that she is succeeding at and are as perfect as she pretends the rest of her life to be.
Lester realizes that his wife's roses are representative of the lack of desire she has for him and their life together. So, it isn't a surprise that his own misplaced desires are represented by the very flowers that he loathes because they get all the affection and attention he does not. As Lester begins to find his way first by standing up to his wife and then by quitting his job he begins an unhealthy fantasy for his daughter's teenage friend, Angela.
These fantasies are very surrealist in nature and are some of the most beautiful and disturbing scenes in the movie. Each of these breaks in reality feature Angela intimately involved with the roses: they are coming out of her blouse or she is only covered in roses or she is immersed in bath that is filled with rose petals. Lester uses this fantasy as the only hope he has in his otherwise miserable life. His desire for Angela spurs him to make life changes that he believes will allow her to desire him and ultimately make him happy. Lester eventually learns that this fantasy isn't they way to his happiness, yet using Caroline's roses as a part of the lust he has for someone else turns the flower that's representative of his misery to one of power and hope for Lester.
Mendes continues to play with the theme of color in Caroline's life as a means of showing her unhappiness in the way that she dresses. She is the only one of the main characters that is brightly dressed. Most everyone else in the film can be found in muted colors: earth tones, grays and blacks but Caroline can always be found in color. Under her earth tone suit she has on a bright red slip. Her nightgown that she wears to bed is a light blue.
Later in the film in a very comic moment at a drive thru at a fast food restaurant she can be found in a red suit. Her desire to convince the world and herself that she is happy isn't just saying or telling people she is happy but dressing happy as well. This obsession for projecting perfection even through her dress makes for poignant moments in the movie as reality breaks through a happy veneer.
Caroline cries as she isn't able to sell the house though she has on her red slip and her roses on the table. She loses out on a moment of closeness with her husband because of her attachment to material goods as she looks perfect in her blue dress and high heels. Her attempt at finding happiness is abruptly lost as she's caught in a compromising situation in her sexy red suit.
Throughout the movie Caroline misses the fact that she isn't going to find happiness in all of her stuff or on how pretty the image she projects seems to be but only taking an honest look at herself and her life will bring her the happiness she finds so elusive. Her brightly colored garb makes her stand out in the movie but also makes her unhappiness more obvious.
Lester also tries to find happiness in colorful material objects. He turns in his boring Camry for a fire red 1970 Pontiac firebird a car he's desired since he was a kid. He purchases and plays with a red remote control car, yet unlike his wife his use of material goods is a stepping-stone in trying to figure out what will make him happy, not as a way to cover up his unhappiness. As the movie progresses Lester finds searching for happiness out side of himself is pointless, that it starts from within. In the end it isn't a brightly colored car or fantasies of a young girl that make him happy but black and white memories of his childhood, of his daughter of the early years with his wife that give him peace and happiness.
Mendes makes us question how we define happiness and success as he explores the inner-lives of a marriage that on the outside seem like they have it all, that they are living the American Dream.
Tamika Johnson is a freelance writer and owner of PrologueReviews.com. To read more reviews by Tamika or to have your book, music or film reviewed visit http://www.prologuereviews.com
The oxymoronic dilemma of an Indian humanities major The Michigan Daily
A defense for the humanities – The Spectator UWEC Spectator
RSU 73 board names student representative, approves Spruce Mountain humanities trip to NYC - Lewiston Sun Journal
RSU 73 board names student representative, approves Spruce Mountain humanities trip to NYC Lewiston Sun Journal
Virginia Humanities awards grants - CBS19 News
Stanford pledges $1,000 stipend to some graduate students The Stanford Daily
The Review: The Humanities' Professional Deformations The Chronicle of Higher Education
Goffe: Collaboration is key to major humanities grants The College of Arts & Sciences
Five Theses on the Humanities Crisis | Opinion Harvard Crimson
Arispe presents digital humanities research funded by National Endowment for the Humanities - Boise State University
Arispe presents digital humanities research funded by National Endowment for the Humanities Boise State University
Humanities Division welcomes two new associate deans University of California, Santa Cruz
Clark Atlanta University to develop digital humanities infrastructure - Rough Draft Atlanta - Reporter Newspapers + Atlanta Intown
Clark Atlanta University to develop digital humanities infrastructure - Rough Draft Atlanta Reporter Newspapers + Atlanta Intown
Inaugural Computational Humanities Initiative Meeting Features Cross-disciplinary Collaboration - UMass Amherst
Inaugural Computational Humanities Initiative Meeting Features Cross-disciplinary Collaboration UMass Amherst
My Love-Hate Relationship with Humanities The Catalyst
Missouri Humanities 2023 Signature Series “Roots & Routes” The Boone Country Connection
Maryland Humanities Awards $10000 in General Operating Grants to Ten Non-Profit Organizations Across Southern Maryland - Southern Maryland News Net - Southern Maryland News Net
Maryland Humanities Awards $10000 in General Operating Grants to Ten Non-Profit Organizations Across Southern Maryland - Southern Maryland News Net Southern Maryland News Net
University of Alabama debates general education curriculum, could wipe some English, humanities courses - AL.com
University of Alabama debates general education curriculum, could wipe some English, humanities courses AL.com
Mass Humanities launches End of Year Giving Appeal Mission Hill Gazette
Will ChatGPT Kill the Student Essay? The Atlantic
Carlinville group wins $10K grant Alton Telegraph
Lincoln Scholar spotlight: Combining the teachings of the humanities with the disciplines of science - ASU News Now
Lincoln Scholar spotlight: Combining the teachings of the humanities with the disciplines of science ASU News Now
Laura Anne Northup Earns VSU College of Humanities and Social Sciences Excellence Award - Valdosta State University
Laura Anne Northup Earns VSU College of Humanities and Social Sciences Excellence Award Valdosta State University
A Love Letter to Bad Art (from a Humanities Major) | Opinion Harvard Crimson
Sylvester Johnson named associate vice provost for public interest technology Virginia Tech Daily
Digital Humanities Workshop 2 - The Tech Of It All (Open to all) UNH's College of Liberal Arts
Registration Opens for Spring 2023 Humanities Seminars University of Arizona News
'There is no space': Bustling town hall protests relocation of humanities departments, student programs - UT Daily Beacon
'There is no space': Bustling town hall protests relocation of humanities departments, student programs UT Daily Beacon
State Land Board Awards Ceremony — Oregon Humanities oregonhumanities.org
'Constant feeling of being an outsider': The experience of minority humanities professors - The State News
'Constant feeling of being an outsider': The experience of minority humanities professors The State News
Breezy Taggart to Give Sandeen Lecture at UW Dec. 12 | News University of Wyoming News
Birthplace of Country Music, Origin Project receive grant funds Bristol Herald Courier
UNE Center for Global Humanities presents 'A History of Race, Disease, and Diabetes' on Dec. 5 - University of New England
UNE Center for Global Humanities presents 'A History of Race, Disease, and Diabetes' on Dec. 5 University of New England
Interdisciplinary Navigator, Humanities and Social Sciences job with TECHNISCHE UNIVERSITAT DRESDEN (TU DRESDEN) | 319487 - Times Higher Education
Interdisciplinary Navigator, Humanities and Social Sciences job with TECHNISCHE UNIVERSITAT DRESDEN (TU DRESDEN) | 319487 Times Higher Education
New Talks and Video Archives @ Various Locations & Chicago Humanities Festival YouTube channel - thirdcoastreview.com
New Talks and Video Archives @ Various Locations & Chicago Humanities Festival YouTube channel thirdcoastreview.com
Inspiring events draw hundreds of people to Being Human Festival Northumbria University
'Writing Beyond the Prison' Amplifies Voice of the Incarcerated and Their Families | | SBU News - Stony Brook News
'Writing Beyond the Prison' Amplifies Voice of the Incarcerated and Their Families | | SBU News Stony Brook News
HUMANITIES WEST PRESENTS LEONARDO THE SCIENTIST-ARTIST Commonwealth Club
The future of History Club TheJambar.com
Growing up in the segregated south inspires professor to pursue avenues that bring people together - VCU News
Growing up in the segregated south inspires professor to pursue avenues that bring people together VCU News
Between the Lines: December Member Spotlight Texas Library Association
Teaching Assistant (Applied Psychology), School of Humanities and Social Science job with THE CHINESE UNIVERSITY OF HONG KONG - SHENZHEN | 319330 - Times Higher Education
Teaching Assistant (Applied Psychology), School of Humanities and Social Science job with THE CHINESE UNIVERSITY OF HONG KONG - SHENZHEN | 319330 Times Higher Education
There is no such thing as a “useless” major , why do some say so? The Michigan Daily
Get to know the Interim provost of NDSU NDSU The Spectrum
Daily Blotter for December 8th 2022 UW–Madison Police Department
PHOTO | Deck the Wall Texarkana Gazette
Bloomsday comes early for BC's Joyceans Boston College
Class keeps history alive and accessible Texas Woman's University
Walker County African American Museum set to open Dec. 17 Chattanooga Times Free Press
'Oh! The Gestalt Of It All' – Free Artist's Workshop & Lecture Los Alamos Daily Post
The Real Problem at Wheaton College | James Diddams First Things
'The Darwin Seminar' Interdisciplinary Honors Class Offered Spring 2023 - University of Arkansas Newswire
'The Darwin Seminar' Interdisciplinary Honors Class Offered Spring 2023 University of Arkansas Newswire
20 years of liberal arts degrees online at Penn State Pennsylvania State University
In memoriam: Harbindar Sanghara University of Victoria
Museum to host Montana Conversation Ekalaka Eagle
The Recorder - Regional Notebook: Dec. 7, 2022 The Recorder
Mercyhurst Education Programs Mercyhurst University
Internationalizing the Humanities | Higher Ed Gamma Inside Higher Ed
Undergraduate with five majors excels at every level University of Miami: News@theU
Gilbert Gonzales wins Jeffrey Nordhaus Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching - Vanderbilt University
Gilbert Gonzales wins Jeffrey Nordhaus Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching Vanderbilt University
A Proclamation on National Arts And Humanities Month, 2022 The White House
This Is How the Humanities End | Higher Ed Gamma Inside Higher Ed
Interdisciplinary environmental history: How narratives of the past can meet the challenges of the anthropocene - Science Daily
Interdisciplinary environmental history: How narratives of the past can meet the challenges of the anthropocene Science Daily
Algerian anonymity: The impact of image and language past and present - Washington University in St. Louis
Algerian anonymity: The impact of image and language past and present Washington University in St. Louis
Exploring What You Can Do with a Humanities Degree Faulkner University
DO | On Studying the Humanities Cornell University The Cornell Daily Sun
The Humanities Are Alive and Well at Columbia Columbia University
Student art exhibit on display at Engine Gallery University of New England
Dr. Edoardo Celeste named 2022 Irish Research Council Early Stage Researcher of the Year | Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences - Dublin City University
Dr. Edoardo Celeste named 2022 Irish Research Council Early Stage Researcher of the Year | Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences Dublin City University
Mellon Foundation grant will support rethinking of humanities centers | BrandeisNOW - Brandeis University
Mellon Foundation grant will support rethinking of humanities centers | BrandeisNOW Brandeis University
Oh, the Humanities! Washington Free Beacon
Neukom Institute Announces 2022 Playwriting Award Winner Dartmouth News
Research Assistant job with MAYNOOTH UNIVERSITY | 319793 Times Higher Education
New student exchange program with the University of Otago University of Sydney
Study: Humanities graduate education is shrinking Inside Higher Ed
Humanities' scholarly infrastructure is vanishing (opinion) Inside Higher Ed
ENTERTAINMENT NOTES: LR Winds, Chamber Singers salute season Arkansas Online
Celebrate Faculty Research and Publications at Next Week's Oct. 25 Humanities Showcase - University of Arkansas Newswire
Celebrate Faculty Research and Publications at Next Week's Oct. 25 Humanities Showcase University of Arkansas Newswire
Community read launches Society for the Humanities' 'Repair' theme The College of Arts & Sciences
La Trobe staff recognised at awards ceremony Mirage News
Pitt's Humanities Engage program is re-imagining doctoral education University of Pittsburgh
Humanities, amplified | College of Letters & Science, University of Wisconsin-Madison - College Of Letters And Science Uw Madison
Humanities, amplified | College of Letters & Science, University of Wisconsin-Madison College Of Letters And Science Uw Madison
Art, Women, and Creativity
Women have been given the greatest gift of creativity there is-the capacity of creating and having a child. Even if a woman has never had children, just the biological possibility, is life defining.
The Different Styles of Inuit Sculptures
At first, all Inuit soapstone sculptures from the Arctic may look alike. However, there are variances in artistic styles among the different Inuit art producing communities.
Copper Keels and Red Ochre
Copper Keels:Nature provides varying resources in different parts of the world. In Ireland the use of leather in boat-building made sense.
Feng Shui North versus South Hemisphere
The North South Hemisphere Question:The question of whether or not the orientation of the Lo Pan, Lo Shu should be reversed when applied to the Southern Hemisphere has been thrown back an forth for years so lets consider the excellent arguments put forward in Qi Concepts at the www.dragonsbreath.
The Wandle Trail - Announced Regeneration Project
The River Wandle is sourced from the North Downs above Croydon, surfacing now in Waddon, running west until it meets the secondary source in Carshalton, then via Hackbridge Mitcham, Ravensbury St Helier Morden Wimbledon Colliers Wood, Summerstown and Wandsworth to the Thames passing through the London Boroughs of Croydon Sutton, Merton, and Wandsworth.The wandle Trail is a 13-mile long route follows the River Wandle from its two sourrces in Sutton and Crodoydon, through Merton to where it enters the Thames in Wandsworth.
Inuit Eskimo Art As Investments
Many people collect Inuit art as investments. Inuit art is growing internationally but it has been suggested that the number of actual Inuit artists are actually declining.
Understanding Astrological Predictions
Opinions about astrological prediction are generally divided: "Mysterious! Magical!", say some; "Nonsense!", reply others. In fact, both views are based on a misunderstanding of the nature of how astrology really "works".
How Many Chinese Characters Are There?
Let's trace the number of Chinese characters from Han Dynasty 汉朝 (206 B.C.
King Tuts Tomb was No Better - Found in America
Between 603 and 702 AD. a truly marvelous temple was built by the Mayan people to honour a non-Mayan, non-Indian man.
Thaitsuki Nihonto Samurai Swords: Leading The Way
So why are these swords so popular? There are several reasons but number one is quality. The Thaitsuki swords are handmade by trained craftsman in using a family method over 200 years old.
Sir Francis Drake
FRANCIS DRAKE: - It is my perspective that history has had secrets which Royal Families like the Stuart Bees needed to keep close to their vest; and that these secrets are still kept by our supposed 'experts' in history, to this day. The English claim to ownership in the Americas has been made on the basis of John Cabot who may never have reached the area of Canada and that Venetian half witted mariner was laughing-stock among his contemporaries.
The Western Cowboy
In the State of Texas the Western Cowboy can be found home on the range. But can you really find a true western cowboy in the state of Texas? At one time you could find real cowboys in Texas but that time was over one hundred years ago.
Your Stars 2
LeoSome tragic news hits you hard and makes you re-evaluate your entire life. Use this opportunity to think long and hard about the direction you are taking.
Painting as a Spiritual Expression
Is a painting no more than a piece of paper with lines and color or is it more than that? In the hands of the master painter, who is painting in the spirit; the lifeless piece of paper with its lines and colors, is transformed into a creation that has life, just as the master creator gave life to his creation. The painter transmits the essence of his spirit to his creation, the "painting.
The Nos Feratu
The Caduceus has the pine cone representing the Pineal Gland which it looks like. Clearly the Edwin Smith Codex alone should be enough to tell us that the Egyptians knew a great deal about the human anatomy.
Propaganda and American Journalism, Born Joined at Birth
Passion was the main stuff of journalism long before the Civil War, the birthplace of modern American journalism. The Press of the American Revolution during the War and before it, was borne of it.
Those Dirty Mexicans--Oh, Really?
When my wife and I announced that we were moving to Mexico, one of my wife's relatives asked us,"Why do you want to live with those dirty Mexicans?"Besides wanting to slap some sense into this person, I was particularly sickened (as in wanting to projectile vomit Linda Blair-style) by this hideous and most heinous stereotype. I have wanted to know since then where this originated.
Top 10 Questions about Body Piercing
Body piercing has grown so much in popularity in recent years that it has become almost mainstream, with more and more people sporting navel rings and multiple ear rings. Facial piercings, surface piercings and lots of others to choose from can make things confusing.
On December 26, 2004 a massive tsunami swept through Thailand killing thousands of people, and changing the lives of thousands more. Although the Tsunami happened months ago, we are still feeling the affects of it today.
The History of Body Piercings - Ancient and Fascinating Around the World
Body piercings have seen a resurgence of interest in the last ten to twenty years and are becoming more and more a part of the mainstream Western culture. Take a look at any fashion or entertainment magazine and you'll see plenty of well-known celebrities with body piercings like navel rings or a labret.
|home | site map|