American Beauty (1999) - Rotten Tomatoes

American Beauty1999

American Beauty (1999)



Critic Consensus: Flawlessly cast and brimming with dark, acid wit, American Beauty is a smart, provocative high point of late '90s mainstream Hollywood film.

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Movie Info

A biting, penetrating and often humorous take on contemporary life in suburban America, Lester Burnham becomes intrigued by a young girl named Angela, and this fascination sparks him to make some major changes in his life. He relishes these changes, much to the exasperation of his wife Carolyn.

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Kevin Spacey
as Lester Burnham
Annette Bening
as Carolyn Burnham
Thora Birch
as Jane Burnham
Wes Bentley
as Ricky Fitts
Mena Suvari
as Angela Hayes
Peter Gallagher
as Buddy Kane
Chris Cooper
as Frank Fitts
Allison Janney
as Barbara Fitts
Scott Bakula
as Jim Olymeyer
Sam Robards
as Jim Berkley
Barry Del Sherman
as Brad Dupree
Ara Celi
as Sale House Woman No. 1
John Cho
as Sale House Man No. 1
Fort Atkinson
as Sale House Man No. 2
Sue Casey
as Sale House Woman No. 2
Kent Faulcon
as Sale House Man No. 3
Brenda Wehle
as Sale House Woman No. 3
Lisa Cloud
as Sale House Woman No. 4
Alison Faulk
as Spartanette No. 1
Krista Goodsitt
as Spartanette No. 2
Lily Houtkin
as Spartanette No. 3
Carolina Lancaster
as Spartanette No. 4
Ramana Leah
as Spartanette No. 5
Chekesa Van Putten
as Spartanette No. 6
Emily Zachary
as Spartanette No. 7
Nancy Anderson
as Spartanette No. 8
Reshma Gajjar
as Spartanette No. 9
Stephanie Rizzo
as Spartanette No. 10
Heather Joy Sher
as Teenage Girl No. 1
Chelsea Hertford
as Teenage Girl No. 2
Amber Smith
as Christy Kane
Joel McCrary
as Catering Boss
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News & Interviews for American Beauty

Critic Reviews for American Beauty

All Critics (190) | Top Critics (58)

American Beauty is deeply disturbing, acerbically funny, brilliantly acted, breathtakingly original and highly sophisticated.

February 22, 2015 | Full Review…

A tightly coiled rage seethes beneath the pretty surface of American Beauty, a wickedly funny black comedy directed by newcomer Sam Mendes.

February 22, 2015 | Rating: 4/4

This is Spacey's best performance since he took home an Oscar for The Usual Suspects.

February 22, 2015 | Full Review…

This engrossing centrepiece meshes with subplots involving Burnham's dysfunctional family and unbalanced neighbours, in a virtuoso study of isolation, repression and fulfilment. Mendes infuses the lush visuals and lyrical script with dramatic panache.

February 22, 2015 | Full Review…
Top Critic

With its parade of neurotics, psychotics, bigots and deceivers, American Beauty is an endlessly rewatchable black comedy.

February 22, 2015 | Rating: 5/5 | Full Review…

Why, then, did I enjoy it so little? Because of its unrelenting self-importance: American Beauty wants us to know, in every shot at every turn, just how clever and mercilessly cutting it is.

May 8, 2014 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for American Beauty

Love this movie, it never seems dated.

Nicki Marie
Nicki Marie

Super Reviewer


Exceptionally quirky, entertainingly intelligent and witty and finally and importantly, stirringly poignant.

Adriel Lim
Adriel Lim

Super Reviewer


Lester Burnham is undergoing a serious midlife crisis; pining for his lost youth and obsessing over a teenage cheerleader, he's married to a joyless go-getter who encloses herself in an armour of sarcasm and self-help and has a daughter who he cannot communicate with and clearly hates his guts. Most of the laughs in this film are provided by Lester's social rebellion, but it's communication (or lack thereof) is what this wonderful film is all about. Full of people who feel suffocated by their own apparently meaningless lives, it's a story of ordinary people full of wants and needs but unable to express them because of the overwhelming feeling that they must do what is expected of them; they must at least APPEAR to be "normal". Lester's fantasies about the young girl are just projections of what he feels is missing from his life, just as his wife's desperate need for "success" are. The cast are all perfect, the multi-layered script sparkles with witty dialogue and it's full of memorable moments, culminating in a deeply moving, insightful and thought provoking finale. Genuinely beautiful.

xGary Xx
xGary Xx

Super Reviewer

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