Tuesday, February 2

American Beauty

This existence that each of us experiences uniquely is incredible, but equally, it can be quite the folly and something in which to find humor: Beautifully and gloriously meaningless. Our way can be lost so easily that we must keep the truth in sight; when we pass on positive energy and genuine happiness, contentment will follow. If one falls into the trappings of a society built on the ever-crumbling foundations of consumerism, materialism, and the insecurities in oneself that it inevitably spawns, that fear will secure its hold. The only outcome for those unfortunate souls will be the loss they initially sought to avoid through their devotion to the illusion of an affluent social status.

American Beauty is a darkly illuminating and cathartic slice of life, focusing on the awakenings of one Lester Burnham: A man experiencing the aforementioned social misery that ensnares nearly all who live in the so-called (American) "developed world". He becomes inspired to rediscover his own contentment and moments of happiness through a midlife crisis that ultimately leads him to his own death. All's well for those readers shouting, "Spoilers!" He actually reveals in the first few minutes of the movie that he'll die in less than a year's time, as he's narrating postmortem. In doing so, the focus is taken away from his death and shifts it toward his story: The desire to regain what he felt he lost in life.

Surprised that I hadn't yet seen it, Claudia was eager share this film with me. Likewise, I was just as excited and knew I was meant to wait to see it until we were together. It's possible that a younger Aaron may not have grasped the story in the way I do now. Claudia revealed a similar set of recollections of watching American Beauty. Seeing it earlier in her life had far less impact than it did later on, hence her excitement to share it with me came from our common feelings about the true beauty of life. As it's hiding in plain sight and waiting to be found amongst the layers of societal miring.

Even if one has seen it before, I would recommend seeing American Beauty again; perhaps this treasure of cinema will speak to you as it has done so fervently for us.

Happy movie watching!
- Aaron -