American Beauty

American Beauty (1999)

10 questions

Question: Who was responsible for Lester's murder? Many of his family and friends had a motive but at the time he was killed, they were all somewhere else.

Chosen answer: Frank, Ricky's father, killed Lester. He thought Lester was gay, a secret he's been keeping about himself for a long time. When Lester spurned his kiss, he was humiliated and enraged.

Phixius

Question: Did Ricky have a mental disability? He is pretty strange, and it was mentioned that he was in a mental hospital, I thought maybe he had aspergers or autism.

Chosen answer: There's no mention that he had a mental disorder. He likely suffers from the emotional abuse his father inflicted on him throughout his entire childhood, which included sending Ricky to a military academy and forcibly committing him to a psychiatric facility (for unknown reasons). This probably contributed to Ricky's later eccentric behavior and drug use.

raywest

Question: Was Col. Frank Fitts really gay, or was he just testing Lester to see if he was gay? Also if he was gay, then how come he was so disgusted by it earlier in the film?

Chosen answer: Frank was gay. As to why he was disgusted by it, he had probably been in complete denial about his true nature for years. Many gay people are torn over their sexual orientation. Adhering to a strict macho military image may have helped Frank mask his true feelings, and he probably considered gay people as being weak and loathsome, while denying he was one. When he acknowledged his own homosexuality, he, in effect, despised himself and considered his life a failure.

raywest

Question: When Buddy and Carolyn first meet at dinner, Buddy claims that his wife left him. At the motel (after Lester discovers Carolyn cheating with Buddy), Buddy says that he's "potentially facing a very expensive divorce." Why did he lie that his wife left him in the first place?

EK8829

Chosen answer: He wasn't lying that she'd left him. Sometimes when people break up, they don't initiate divorce proceedings right away, and some ex-couples don't bother going through divorce at all purely because it's too expensive. Sometimes, a reconciliation happens. He simply wasn't sure exactly what was going to be happening.

Purple_Girl

Question: When Carolyn threatens to divorce Lester, he asks on what grounds. I thought there was no fault divorce in 1999. Can someone please explain?

raph

Chosen answer: Lester is saying that she has no reasons to put forth to a judge and will look foolish. In doing so, her threat of divorce is empty.

Greg Dwyer

Question: What do the roses symbolize?

Chosen answer: The red rose is an almost universal symbol for love. Red is the colour of passion. A rose is also associated with female genitalia. So when Lester imagines Angela covered in rose petals this is to reinforce this passion and longing. That is one association. The rose known as American Beauty is very beautiful but also very fragile and its roots rots easily. The film begins with Lester's wife cutting roses in her garden of which she is very proud. We soon find out that behind this "beautiful" exterior the family is falling apart, it is "rotting." There is another analogy that can be made between the American dream and the pursuit of happiness and the connection to passion and desire represented by the rose. But it is ephemeral. It's not a coincidence that Lester dies moments after realizing true happiness.

Question: What variety of rose was used in the film throughout the house as arrangements, petals and the plantings in the Burnham yard? It doesn't look like American Beauty as that rose is pink and a climber.

Chosen answer: The American Beauty rose has several cultivars, both bush and climbing and several colors including red and white.

Myridon

Question: The two credited Film Editors according to IMDB are Tariq Anwar and Christopher Greenbury. However only Tariq Anwar was Oscar nominated for this film, why is this?

Chosen answer: According to www.oscars.org, both were nominated.

Question: What's the name of the song played in the background of the scene where Lester and Angela are admitting they want each other? It's when she says, "I hope you don't mind I put the stereo on."

Chosen answer: The song is the Annie Lennox version of Neil Young's 'Don't Let It Bring You Down'. (It isn't on the American Beauty soundtrack unfortunately).

Question: I was just wondering if anyone knows what Jane and her father Lester were talking about in the first scene Ricky films them in the kitchen. You see their lips move but naturally since he's in a different house there are no words to accompy this. Maybe a lip reader could help?

Chosen answer: I think they were talking about how Jane never tells Lester anything anymore. He says how they used to be pals and Jane starts to say something and then I think they see Ricky move outside.

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