"I can think of few other films that struck such awe, and now inspire such vitriol. Unlike other contrived winners, like, say, Crash, whose repugnant qualities are immediately apparent, American Beauty’s badness, its slickness, its insistence on its own profundity, was enough to bamboozle many of us as teenagers. I believe it’s one of the earliest firsthand experiences my generation had with changing our minds about a movie we loved…There is no sense of that coming dread in American Beauty—it’s static; a silent groan about the excesses of comfort…It feels impossible to go to American Beauty, now, as an adult, and find anything but a nasty, patronizing movie that tries to spin baby boomer disillusionment into universal themes."
looks back at American Beauty
. While I totally agree with the overall sentiment (please, go watch Ordinary People
instead), I still think Annette Benning turned in one of the best performances ever done by a woman that wasn’t Meryl Streep. I also have to say the visuals in that movie had us fooled, some pretty imaginative and striking techniques—the fantasy scenes, the use of the handheld camcorders, etc.—go a long way toward obscuring a bad script.