April 30, 2013
The American Beauty The movie, “The American Beauty,” portrays the lives of several upper middle class families who are all in pursuit of the things in life that make them happy, but they are depressed and very much struggling to achieve happiness in their lives. Each of the main characters has their own version of the American dream, meaning their fantasy of how they want their lives to be verses how their lives are in reality. However, as the main characters fantasize about their versions of reality, they actually begin to lose sight of the things that are really important such as family, health, education, dignity and self-identity. During the film, some of the younger characters such as Jane and Ricky are going through very difficult and awkward phases in their lives. Therefore, both of these young characters are trying to discover themselves. However, the inability to relate with and get along with their family members and parents make it difficult for these teens to find serenity and a piece of mind at home. The film shows that the typical teenager faces many challenges in life, and that these challenges are different for everyone. Through these challenges, it is very common for such teenagers to become depressed. It also shows that money and other materialistic items are not always the most important things in life and may not always bring happiness. Ricky, one of the main characters, seemed to be significantly affected by his inability to relate with others and get along with his dad. Ricky is 16 years old, shy, and is new to his school. Ricky does not know anyone, so he has a difficult time meetings friends and fitting in. As a result, Ricky begins to lash out act strange. Ricky becomes anti-social and depressed and begins to use and sell marijuana. Throughout the film, it becomes clear that Ricky is severely depressed. He acts out by isolating himself and breaking the law. Ricky also distrusts and dislikes authority figures and law enforcement.
As Ricky continues to fight with his parents and continue to be dissatisfied with his current life, the teenager becomes further depressed and isolated. The conflicts at home seem to be limiting his personal growth and delaying his discovery of his self-identity (American Beauty, 1999). A diagnosis of depression, according to the DSM-IV-TR criteria for major depressive episodes and major depressive disorders, involves several factors that the individual must display in a two-week period. These behaviors include being depressed most of the day, losing interest in once pleasurable activities, and being isolated from friends and family. In addition,