The Moral & Natural Freedoms of American Beauty


American Beauty is such an excellent title for such a great movie. The title is so effective because of the movie being such a beauty in itself as a work of art. Many characters and points within the movie appear to display something other than what they really are on the inside, much like the title American Beauty, which is quite deceiving. As the movie progresses, I feel that Lester, whom is the main character of the movie, goes through the movie as a suppressed person, emotionally and decisively, to one who expresses his natural freedom to its limits. With his newfound freedom put in action I feel that Lester loses sight of his moral freedom and allows his natural freedom to fully control. I believe this is due to the amount of stress, tension and events occurring through this mid-life crisis that he is experiencing which finally build up to create his turning point.


Right at the beginning of the movie, there are certain scenes which relate and lead to the main characters road to rebellion from his normal everyday life. One such scene is in the opening where he stands in the shower, masturbating, which is revealed as, “the high point of his day”. This shows his sexual frustration which is only a small part of a large fire burning within him. One other impacting factor is displayed in a scene later on that same day at work. He is being threatened with dismissal from the company that he has ‘slaved’ for, for over 14 years. More fuel to be added to the fire from his professional standpoint. Finally, tied in with his pent up sexual tension, in comes a friend of his daughters in whom he begins to obsess about and many times, fantasize about. This all leads Lester to his release, his breaking point, in which he will reclaim his freedom that he quotes to losing early in the movie, “I have lost something. I\'m not exactly sure what it is, but I know I didn\'t always feel this ... sedated.”


I feel that the turning point for Lester was when he meets Ricky at a dinner conference of his wife’s. As they are out back smoking a joint, Ricky’s boss comes around and wants Ricky to get back to work, whom subsequently quits right there on the spot. Lester remarks to Ricky, “I think you just became my personal hero.” This is simply because Ricky has actually acted out as anyone would have wanted to, but simply would have been held back or too afraid to go forth with it. I think that this opens up Lester’s eyes and his ability to act on decisions or say things which he previously would have not. This point of expression and freedom that Lester is starting to experience reminds me of yet another quote, but from a separate movie. “It’s only after you’ve lost everything that you’re free to do anything.” This comes from the movie Fight Club. I feel that Lester has reached this point in his mind. He has no relationship with his daughter, they have grown distant and more often are in conflict than in pleasant situations. The same goes for his wife, whom he constantly argues with and does not see eye to eye with. And finally, he is days away from losing his job of 14 years. So in essence of it all, Lester has no room to sink any lower in life and has only positive direction to move towards. And with a little motivational push from Ricky, Lester begins to actually live his life, speak his mind and do as he pleases.


Now once Lester has found this new guiding light in his life, he slowly begins to think and act differently. The first scene showing this is at night, after the conference, once everyone has gone to bed. Carolyn awakes to the sounds and movements of Lester masturbating. An ensuing argument develops and midway trough Lester states to Carolyn, “This hasn\'t been a marriage for years. But you were happy as long as I kept my mouth shut. Well, guess what? I\'ve changed.” This clearly shows how Lester is