Analysis of Mise-En-Scene in the Film 'American Beauty' Essay

1083 WordsNov 14, 20125 Pages
How does mise-en-scene create meaning and provoke response in the opening of American Beauty? The opening scene of American Beauty shows a teenage girl lying in a bed, venting her feelings towards her father. In this, the audience sees her in dull clothing and colours, minimal make-up and has greasy-looking hair. As she sits up, her hair falls around her face and she stares directly into the camera, giving a sense of unease to the audience. The next shot is an establishing shot, showing the street where the main character, Leister, lives. Its fall/autumn time and the trees are bare or dying, possibly indicating and foreshadowing a death later on in the movie. Also the streets are very linear, all vertical and in uniform, as it were.…show more content…
This opening introduces the family’s lifestyle and sets the scene for the audience, from the shot following Leister’s shower, the audience gets the sense that the wife is the head of the house as she gardens in a bright, contemporary looking garden. The camera goes to a close up on the rose as the woman clips it from the bush. This rose is called American Beauty which is also the name of the film. She is dressed in a plain grey suit and a clean white apron, again fitting in with the colour scheme of the interior decor. She also wears pearl earrings and a pearl necklace with her hair perfectly framing this and has impeccable make up, indicating what the perfect American housewife should resemble. She also converses with the homosexual neighbours about the secret to her roses flourishing so well; she seems happy and overly enthusiastic. The audience then see a shot of Leister, again, enclosed in an environment- this time the window. The audience sees him behind the window panes, in between two bright blue shutters, indicating his isolation and loneliness within his own home. The colour blue is also an interesting choice by the director. Blue suggests calm and tranquillity within the home, and also reflects on the colour of the perfect blue sky. Leister seems to fit in as he reflects on his own life and his past happiness, and also seems unsettled within himself, contrasting to the
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