American Beauty Synopsis
A man's (Kevin Spacey) midlife crisis includes a crush on a teen.
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Movie Reviews

Critic Ratings


New York Daily News

By Jami Bernard
A tart, funny and tremendously sobering movie about the deepest recesses of personal unhappiness.
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Boston Globe

By Jay Carr
Spacey is diamond-brilliant in a role that plays as if custom-made for him.
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Baltimore Sun

By Ann Hornaday
A movie that will endure.
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New York Post

A flat-out masterpiece, surely the best movie of the year; indeed, an all-time classic.
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San Francisco Chronicle

By Edward Guthmann
A wonder of a film -- a luminous, beautifully executed drama that gathers the best cast of the year -- the best American film of the year.
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Chicago Sun-Times

By Roger Ebert
Spacey, an actor who embodies intelligence in his eyes and voice, is the right choice for Lester Burnham.
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USA Today

By Mike Clark
A singular accomplishment so specifically keyed to Spacey's talents that it mandates going out on a limb to say it contains the performance...
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Rolling Stone

By Peter Travers
A triumph of acting, writing and directing that defies glib description...the kind of artful defiance that Hollywood is usually too timid...
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Entertainment Weekly

By Owen Gleiberman
You know you're in the hands of a true filmmaker when you feel invited, at every turn, to share his sense of entrancement. I got that...
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Philadelphia Inquirer

By Carrie Rickey
Mendes nonetheless works this screenplay like a jazz virtuoso plays with a familiar theme such as "Mary Had a Little Lamb."
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American Classic

By cwalton
Almost a decade after seeing this in theaters, this pointed, funny, and moving Best Picture winner still packs a wallop. Director Sam Mendes and writer Alan Ball, along with ace support from the rest...


By bebe_kitten
I'm not sure why American Beauty is still on the front page of the rate movies section.. it came out like 10yrs ago. Anyhow, it was a great movie.. I'm sure by now tho most people already know...

Five Word Review

By redyeah
Brilliant look at midlife crisis...

This is #2 of my all time favorites

By wendydarlin1
My #1 fav, Gone With the Wind is much older, but the elements are similar to what I loved about American Beauty. The camera shots are exquisitely framed. The dialogue is real life drama for its time....

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By jisybouts
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How can you NOT LOVE LESTER!!!

By quikticks
After watching this, I knew what I didn't want to be and what I DID want to be just watching the life of 1 guy! Kevin Spacey is the bomb! He can play any character! He proved it in this movie. I...

Fun movie!

By dvonballmoos
An interesting film....

Academy Award Winning

By jrubio23
i thought this movie was excellent. very good story line. lots of twists....

Great movie!

By khantessa
Mendez is a genius. Cinematography was devine. See this movie with a dysfunctional family member!...

good movie, maybe not for everyone

By Unyun
Personally I really liked American Beauty. It was a dark exploration of how a suburban mid-life crisis can shake up a family and neighborhood as well. I think Kevin Spacey did a fantastic job with...

More Info

For Language, Drug Content, Strong Sexuality and Violence
What Parents Need to Know
Common Sense Media says Powerful acting, great story, but far too mature for kids.
Read the Common Sense Media Review