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American Beauty

"American Beauty" on DVD

Awards Edition Disc

American Beauty is a smaller than life film about life in suburbia USA. Winner of 5 Academy Awards, it stars Kevin Spacey and Annette Bening as hubby and wifey in an ordinary neighborhood living ordinary lives.

He's a writer, though apparently not much of one, and she's a realtor, though apparently not much of one. They have a nice home, a teenage daughter with attitude. The daughter has a sultry friend, the family has a "video stalking" neighbor. As such, they live in a typical Hollywood version of the world.

American Beauty isn't what you expect, and it definitely has its ugly side, but on the whole it's a pretty interesting yarn that's refreshingly different from the typical Hollywood tripe. There's plenty of sexual tension, personal hangups, and a story - well, we won't spoil it by giving away too much. It isn't really what you expect from what you've heard or from the film's setup, and that's a nice change from the all-too-predictable fare Hollywood often churns out.

The widescreen DVD features both Dolby Digital and DTS surround tracks, and picture and sound quality are terrific.

The DVD is a special "Awards Edition" and that means there's a pile of extras over which you can pore. In fact, the package says there's more than three hours of extra material included on the disc, and one certainly can't complain about that.

From fairly standard (though no less welcome) fare as a liner essay (this one was written by director Sam Mendes) to a running commentary by director Mendes and writer Alan Ball, to "American Beauty: Look Closer," a feature with cast/crew interviews, there's plenty into which you can get your teeth. There's also a storyboard presentation, with commentary, cast/crew bios and the usual trailer, chapters, etc. A DVD ROM component features the "digital screenplay" with corresponding video and storyboards.

American Beauty from Dreamworks Home Video
122 minutes, Widescreen (2.35:1), Dolby Digital/DTS
Starring Kevin Spacey, Annette Bening, Thora Birch, Allison Janney, Peter Gallagher
Produced by Bruce Cohen and Dan Jinks
Written by Alan Ball, Directed by Sam Mendes


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Updated May 13, 2006