020 - American Beauty (1999)

Hidden desires are amongst everyone in today's intolerant modern society. American Beauty centres heavily on this theme, from 'ordinary' teenage insecurities to the more bizarre sexual frustrations.

Kevin Spacey, perhaps my favourite actor of all time, heads up a cast of relative unknowns (the only other 'major' actress in the film is Mena Suvari - of American Pie). He plays Lester Burnham, a man who gets by in his life - ordered around by his wife, hated by his daughter and in the firing line from his work.
Theatrical Poster

Lester's daughters best friend, Angela (Suvari), brings changes into his life, showing him attention that he hasn't seen in over 14 years. These changes lead Lester to make big changes in his personal and working life - with dramatic consequences.

A subtle mention is made to the American Dream in the film's soundtrack (American Dream by Jakatta), and I can fully understand this connection - Lester's only wish in life is to be recognised and shown the freedom that he believes he deserves.

The film's ending is foreseeable - because it is mentioned at the beginning - but that doesn't take away from the brutal reality that freedom comes at a price to the comfort of others around you.

A must-see.