American Beauty Film Analysis

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American Beauty, directed by Sam Mendes and written by Alan Ball, explores the Burningham family’s projection of a “perfectly normal” lifestyle or the “ideal” American family portrayal. This film is about how everything is not as it seems behind closed doors. As the storyline progresses the film adheres to multiple genre codes and conventions to deepen the story arc, this is known as Genre Hybridity as it refers to two or more established genre’s through storyline, etc. (REF TO TEXTBOOK) American Beauty is a hybrid genre text because it conforms to more than one genre this being romance, satire and drama through formal elements such as narrative and screen aesthetic. This can also be further proved by examples of single/hybrid genre texts like The Notebook (2004, Nick Cassavetes), Fight Club (1999, David Fincher) and Bold and the Beautiful (1987 -, William J Bell). http://www.jstor.org/stable/pdf/1213628.pdf?acceptTC=true Many major box office hits in today’s day an age contain comedy, witty one liner’s, major plot-twists but mostly romance. The romance genre has become a booming success in the film industry as of late 2000’s. (REF) The genre is difficult to define but can be described as the development of love between characters as a main narrative (REF). This can be shown by the massive success of the iconic film, The Notebook grossing in at $115, 603, 229 worldwide. (REF) The film is set around two characters falling in love, therefore falling under the romance genre. One of the conventions of a romance film is forbidden love, this is shown throughout the Notebook between the two main protagonists and is also shown in the movie American Beauty. In American Beauty the protagonist, Lester Burnham (Kevin Spacey) becomes infatuated with his daughter’s best friend, Angela Hayes (Mena Suvari) this creates tension between the characters as Angela continuously entices Mr. Burnham whilst knowing they can never be ‘together’ due to the age gap and because of his daughter, it is more of an unnatainable lust, therefore conforming to the forbidden love narrative contained within most romantic films. Another aspect of the romance genre is tragedy. Throughout Shakespeare’s works all love ends in heartache, there are
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