63: “It’s Hard to Stay Mad When There’s So Much Beauty” – American Beauty
That’s what Lester Burnham tells us in AMERICAN BEAUTY, and may also describe some people’s reaction to this Best Picture winner from 1999, which is a mite more controversial in the wake of the #MeToo movement — and allegations of sexual misconduct by its Oscar-winning lead.
When We Were Young invites you to “look closer” at the stunning cinematography, the innovative editing, the memorably melancholy score, and, of course, Alan Ball’s sharp-tongued screenplay, which follows a doofy dad through a particularly fatal midlife crisis and satirizes upper middle class suburbia. There’s plenty to cherish here, from the darkly comedic performances of Annette Bening, Mena Suvari, and, yes, even Kevin Spacey — but what about its approach to gender and sexuality in the 90s? Is this a cautionary tale about the dangers of chasing youth in your middle age, or is watching Spacey lust after a teenager in 2019 just too… icky?
Does American Beauty hold up like a plastic bag on a blustery day? Or is the bloom off the rose? Find out in our newest episode!
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