An Entire Life Behind Things Paper

818 words - 4 pages

An Entire Life Behind Things

American Beauty illustrates a strong message of what beauty is essential. Every scene conveys an important message. It puts a realistic spin on happiness and beauty and their true meaning. Through the character's journey to find themselves and begin to live life on the edge, the viewer is encouraged to take a closer look at their own lives. American Beauty provokes the question; what is truly beautiful? This can all be shown through the character Ricky and his handheld camera.
First, throughout the film American Beauty, Ricky Fitts has a handheld video camera in which he is constantly recording. Ricky is the film's moral backbone, and the Burnham family is never the same after his influence. His character in the film conveys his own idea of beauty and happiness, which contrasts with the rest of the characters. In today's society, the definition of beauty is almost unachievable and dangerously obsessive. Ricky's original ideas and unique ways of seeing beauty illustrate a character living on the edge. "I was filming a dead bird. .. because it was beautiful". He drives the theme of beauty and happiness while encouraging the viewer to look closer. Ricky's handheld camera allows the viewer to see two sides of the situation. His handheld camera shows the truth behind the images and characters.

For this reason, the filming on Ricky's handheld camera always occurs from inside the house, which is ironic because, from the outside, his family is seen as "living the American dream"; however, when you go inside, it is obvious that this is not the case. This expresses the symbolism of Ricky's use of the camera. Ricky and his camera show the viewer to look further into the falsely perceived. The handheld camera is also used in filming the plastic bag, which is important in understanding Ricky's idea of beauty. Through his appreciation for beauty in unusual places, we learn the importance of looking closer. Ricky is a character unafraid to live life, and he desires to break through conformity and live life on the edge. Ricky, the mysterious boy next door, shows us a close-up picture of "beauty" captured on film. A plastic bag is dancing in the wind. For him, garbage is beauty. After all, Ricky can find beauty in just about anything. When Ricky discovers Lester Burnham has been shot dead, he is fascinated by the blood slowly oozing from the fr...

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