American Beauty Lighting Essay

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Color is used not only to show juxtapositions in neighborhoods, but to bring out the characters as well.

Sam Mendes captures the essence of each character with color.

Another adaptation of the title is the beauty of a perfect American home much like the Burnham’s home appears to be.

But all have flaws, the rose has thorns to prick, Angela has her fear of being ordinary and the Burnham’s home, well it too is cursed with the reality that they are a dysfunctional family.

Sand hit the nail right on the head when he said this in 1872.

Appearance versus reality has been a central theme in many American creative works including the film American Beauty.Red roses become not only a motif in the film; they come to represent symbols. They are in the garden; almost every room in the house has a bouquet of brightly colored roses in a vase.They are the centerpieces to the dining room table.Within the house Mendes restricted the colors to a monochromatic blue-gray scheme to emphasize the isolation between the Burnham’s.Lester escapes from this cold and lonely house by creating a domain for himself, it is framed in golden browns, and this separates him even further from the blue-gray existence he had been living.To carry further the theme that the Burnham’s happy home is just a front for what lies deep inside.Sam Mendes juxtaposes the Burnham’s house with the neighbor’s homes.The front door to the house becomes a motif as well, with constant references from neighbors about the house with the red door.As if the door is a gateway to the oddities lurking inside the house.American Beauty is a film that delves into your typical, middle-class suburban American home and slowly uncovers all of the abnormalities that lie within.The family is portrayed as normal but as the films tag line suggests “look closer” then it is possible to fully understand the implications that takes place in this seemingly happy home.


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