American Beauty// Notable media

American beauty is a 5 star rated film on Netflix, which is the reason I watched it. The film discusses like many of the films I seem to watch mature content and taboo subjects. the film carries across many messages such as perhaps being ordinary isn’t such a bad thing. it also dazzles you with its compositions and edits, and beautiful dialogue. ( sounds like a good film I know)

Okay, so the first thing I want to talk about is the opening scene, opening scenes follow the conventions of introducing the characters and the settings or environment in which the character lives. American Beauty is no acceptation to the convention, we see the city, the street and the house in which he lives in, an ordinary suburb ( as they say in America), he gets up to typical tasks that a sad and lonely man would do that is married, the opening scene really has nothing that stands out it all blends into the background and all feels like the same thing you’ve watched over and over again but perhaps that’s what the director or writer wants you to thing that this film is ordinary, plain and boring.

The first real sign we see that these are talented film makers is in the scene where the main character is being told he may be up for firing, the composition of him sat directly in the middle gives him power but the room behind is blank and boring, which he blends into very easily. The reverse shot is of his boss or superior, his scene is the opposite to the main character, the boss is cluttered and full of objects almost to the point of clutter, but it brings about the question of how different these two lives are, and the comparison between a blank empty life to a cluttered high life.

Another thing that is different to most films is the narration, the narrator tells us the end of the film that he is going to be dead in one year, now the ending and the summary is what we usually watch a film to find out about, however we are already told how the film ends which if you watch the film you find out that the end is not the most important part its the middle that holds the most significance. A clever trick that really pulls you into the film and makes you want to find out more.

Another aspect I wanted to look at was the gender stereotypes within camera composition. A wide shot within capturing a man and wife sat with their daughter at the dinner table. Sounds fairly normally, however we saw the dominating stance the husband takes over his wife and husband completely degrading them and talking down, althought the composition is split equally into three he dominates each shot and moves into each sector of the of the wife and the daughter.

some brief notes…

  • blank room when he is being told he is being fired with the boss sat in a desk of things
  • the compositions of the married women when her family gets up to leave
  • that we already know the ending of the film but its not the ending that’s important but the stuff that goes in between
  • that janes boyfriend believes there is so much beauty in inanimate objects being transformed by natural occourances
  • reaction shots, shot through a camera
  • narrative at the begginng and end a circle
  • a match between the two couples
  • that fantasy is not reality
  • there is nothing more important than not being ordinary is the message but perhaps being ordinary is the most important thing
  • you cannot count on any one but yourself
  • the opening sequences portrays a lonely older man stuck in a mid life crisis builds up the character
  • that gender was no object to your level of hapness but was when it came to who held the power within relationships
  • the human body framed within a window
  • it talked about every stereotype going
  • last line ” but all I felt was gratitude you proably don’t understand what I’m talking about but the good thing is you will someday” romanticising death
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