American Beauty (Classic Tuesdays)

Sam Mendes (1999)

Kevin Spacey, Annette Bening, Thora Birch Rated 18 Run time 122 mins

Arguably the most controversial offering in our 2022-23 lineup, albeit for reasons that have nothing to do with the film itself and everything to do with the alleged offscreen behaviors of its leading man. Your LFC Committee remain firmly convinced that American Beauty is one of the highpoints of 90’s US cinema, both in terms of its lucid cross-generational script and its uniformly committed performances. Incoming Brit Sam Mendes directs  with precision, compassion and more than a hint of David Lynch’s sinister suburban undertow. And yes – both Bening and the now-reviled Spacey have arguably never been better on-screen. In short, the film remains both distinctly “American” and- for all its dark narrative twists – a real thing of beauty.

87% – Rotten Tomatoes

8.4 / 10 – IMDB

“‘American Beauty” is  loaded with equally colorful supporting characters who seem to drift casually through the film until all their fates converge.”

“directed with terrific visual flair by the English stage director Sam Mendes and replete with the kinds of delicate, eroticized power-playing vignettes found in his production of ”The Blue Room,” strikes an unusually successful balance between the mordant and bright.”

FILM REVIEW; Dad’s Dead, And He’s Still a Funny Guy-The New York Times