Cinema: Dark Side of the Dream

Sure, we've seen suburban discontent before, but seldom as shattering a view as American Beauty's

Lester Burnham (Kevin Spacey) hates his job and the cubicle to which it confines him. He has also come to despise his tense and frigid wife Carolyn (Annette Bening), to mourn the sullen silence that has descended between him and his teenage daughter Jane (Thora Birch), to loathe the sterile suburbia where they all try to make emotional ends meet. Lester masturbates a lot, especially when he gets to thinking about his daughter's friend Angela (Mena Suvari), the American Beauty of the title.

Oh, God, not that again. Not another midlife crisis, with its subcurrents of suppressed violence and repressed sexual...

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