Existentialism: American Beauty

1763 WordsApr 22, 20138 Pages
Existentialism: American Beauty American Beauty is a movie that sets in suburban America. The story is about Lester, whom is a middle-aged writer working in a magazine company. He was having a midlife crisis where he felt lonely and numbed by continuous unchanging routine of his everyday life. In the movie, his wife portrayed as a successful real estate agent, but she was also going through her own midlife crisis in both her career and personal life. Lester’s daughter, Jane Bumham had alienated her parents and was going through puberty. They have a new neighbor who is a U.S. Marine Corps Colonel Frank Fitts, and he has a son, Ricky Fitts, who is a drug dealer. Lester was going to get fired from his company that he had worked for fourteen…show more content…
Let me then address their pride. Let me speak of them of what is the most contemptible; but that is the last man” (Soloman, 73). Lester also has similar characteristics of the “last man”. Before his transformation, he even confessed that he was living a life of a “dead man”. Nietzsche saw the “last man” among the middle class and he was afraid that they would be suffocated by the dreadful office space. This greatly relates to Lester’s working environment and the suburban area where he lived. Everyday felt like yesterday, nothing changes. There is no creativity or passion in Lester’s life and Nietzsche believed that people should be pushed and encouraged to break the cycle. Lester’s transformation speaks of Nietzsche’s existentialist theme: “we philosophers and ‘free spirits’ fell, when we hear the news that ‘the old god is dead.’ As if a new dawn shone on us…” (68). The “new dawn” that Nietzsche mentions in his book have similar portrayal in the movie, which is Lester’s transformation of his new life. From a miserable and coward person, Lester changed into a new courageous and free spirited individual. He was able to confront his wife and make his own decisions without being afraid of her looking down on him: “It's a great thing when you realize you still have the ability to surprise yourself. Makes you wonder what else you can do that you've forgotten about"
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