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American Beauty 10 Sep 99

I've seen this twice already and when it opens Wednesday (Sep. 15th) I'll be seeing it again: this is about as perfect as a film can get. The writing is crisp, the direction elegant, the performances magnificently nuanced. Conrad Hall's photography is as perfect as what's being photographed. Kevin Spacey is as good here as I've ever seen him, and everyone else, including three actors under twenty, all keep up. The characters are fully realized people, and the humor, despair, passion and desires of these people ring more true than anything I've seen in the last four or five years. Attempting to describe the plot here wouldn't do it justice; I will say that this is a more accurate view of American life than has been seen in movies in a long time. While I had a handful of minor structural issues with it the first time through, I couldn't think of any way to improve on what they've done and they all fell by the wayside on my second viewing. This is how a cinematic mirror should be held up to our world. A+

I can remember a time when where we went to the movies was just as important as the movies we went to see .... From the moment moviegoers arrived to buy their tickets, there was a sense of something special, a feeling that to step inside was to enter another time and place. - Gene Kelly