American Beauty Analysis

(Part 2)


It makes her feel wanted. I think it reveals to the audience that she has a real fear of being what she thinks is ordinary. She thinks that having men look at her the way they do, and her desire to be a model is going to achieve this. Gradually, Mendes shows us that reality is different from appearances. You cannot truly know about a person by looking at them from the outside.

Angela’s need to be the most popular with men is shown when she pretends to be very experienced when it comes to a man and uses this to try to control Jane and Ricky’s new relationship. Doing this shows that perhaps Angela has not really been involved with as many men as she says she has. I think that her having this ‘ordinary’ friend succeed in snatching up a boyfriend before her, is daunting to her because Angela has tried so hard to get men to do more than look at her, and Jane has only been herself. When Angela tries to have a conversation with Jane to get her to divulge information on her love life, Jane rejects her.

“ANGELA so you and psycho boy are f*cking on like, a regular basis now, right?
JANE Look, I’m not gonna talk about his dick with you, okay? It’s not like that.
ANGELA I tell you every single detail about every guy that I f*ck.
JANE Yeah and maybe you shouldn’t, all right? Maybe I don’t really want to hear all that.
ANGELA Oh, so now that you have a boyfriend, you’re like, above it?”

Angela is struggling so hard to be anything but ordinary that it inevitably tears hers and Jane’s friendship apart. Angela and Jane’s fight causes Angela to go against what Jane thinks is right. She is willing to have sex with Lester regardless of the age barrier. This begins the climax to Angela’s emotions. I think that Angela and Lester both see this moment of emotional vulnerability as an opportunity to get what they think they want. They start kissing and Lester begins undoing Angela’s top, he makes her feel wanted. More wanted than anyone has ever made her feel. When Lester tells Angela she is anything but ordinary, it opens up a big realization to Angela that she doesn’t need to do this just to be interesting. She is already an extremely interesting person and if she would just stop trying to be something she isn’t, she can truly be happy.

In the beginning, Angela is a very miserable teenage girl with many struggles in her life to not be just another ordinary girl. In the end I think that with everything that has happened to her like her friendship with Jane, and their struggles to be friends because of Ricky and then her encounter with Lester, let her realize the true beauty in the world and that she has so many things in her life that are good and anything but ordinary so she doesn’t need to keep fighting against herself. She can just be herself and be happy.



American Beauty Analysis