Friday, October 29, 1999

American Beauty / ***1/2 (1999)

Like the river water as it moves down a cascade of sharp rocks, "American Beauty" sails with a stubborn and unrelenting distinction, only for it to arrive at a turbulent climactic moment that surprises even the characters. Here is a movie that deals with the dysfunction of the American dream, leaves us questioning our own family values, and looking closer for the "hidden beauty" of all things existing. In many ways, this it is reminiscnent of Ang Lee’s "The Ice Storm" – both have foregrounds as elegant as a Thomas Kinkade painting, while the interior lives are occupied by everlasting tribulations and selfish impulses.