American Beauty Essay
American beauty is a very interesting film in which many different themes are presented. Some presented subtly and others very blatantly. From what is the true meaning of the “American Dream” to sex and sexuality. From dwelling on one’s misery to finding one’s identity. The themes and interpretations that can be taken away from this film are myriad, but the one of the most prevalent themes that derives from this film is that of happiness. Finding happiness, doing what makes you happy, overall the pursuit of happiness. This journey can be seen in each of the characters, Lester, Jane, Ricky, and even Carolyn. Each of them went through their own unique journey to find what makes them happy.
First let’s examine Lester. Lester was a man who had it all, a nice house in a nice suburban neighborhood, with a successful wife and daughter, and had a successful job. Yet deep down he was hopeless and depressed. How could this be? Mainly for the simple fact that most times being successful is often confused as also being happy, but the two are very different in nature. Although Lester had a good amount going for him, he wasn’t really doing what made him happy. His mistake was continuing on with his unpleasant and routinely life. He didn’t try to find and do what made him happy. Then he had an epiphany when he met Ricky and had a smoke with him. When Ricky’s boss acted rude to him, Ricky simply quit. He demonstrated how if something made him unhappy he can simply walk away from it. That is when Lester realized he should begin to do the same. That is when he started to take more control in his life and try to pursue what gave him happiness. He quit his oppressive job in the hopes of living a freer life. Unfortunately his method of fun was also to do drugs and try to have relations with a sixteen year old girl. All in all Lester did what made him happy in the last few months of his life.
Carolyn on the other hand was a prime example of someone who confused success with happiness. She was a very materialistic character. One too concerned of what others thought of her. To her other people seeing her successful is what she thought evoked happiness. She would put on a mask of confidence and well being while on the inside she wasn’t truly happy. She would surround and lavish herself with expensive materialistic items such as a four-thousand dollar Italian couch. Or like when she attended that party with Lester how she told him to act happy, to hide one’s true emotions. And that was she fault. Confusing success with happiness, it was an illusion that eventually