American Beauty focuses on the last year of Lester Burnham’s life. Lester Burnham (Kevin Spacey) is married to Carolyn Burnham (Annette Betting), and their marriage is picture perfect on the outside, but the perfection is only superficially. Their marriage is based on projecting one image- a picture perfect suburbia lifestyle when it is in fact quite the opposite.
Colonel Frank Fitts (Chris Cooper) is the new neighbor who is presented to the audience as a homophobic man. He is constantly hating on and putting down the homosexual couple in the neighborhood. So what is homophobia? The Merriam-Webster’s online dictionary defines homophobia as “an irrational fear of, aversion to, or discrimination against homosexuality or homosexuals.” The film American Beauty represents this behavior through the character of Colonel Fitts.
The movie American Beauty portrays this kind of homophobic behavior in some
way. One of the characters in the movie is homophobic and this behavior leads him to commit a murder at the end of the film. There are many reasons for homophobic behavior, one of them is that the person displaying this kind of behavior may be a homosexual too and uses anger and discrimination to hide his/her own insecurities and fears.
Colonel Fitts in the movie is constantly putting down his homosexual neighbors and filling his son’s head with hate...
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...ee if his suspicious were correct and ends up kissing Lester. Finding out that Lester was not a homosexual and that his actions were all for nothing, he feels so ashamed of what he did and doesn’t want anybody to find out about his homosexual tendencies so he murders Lester. The Colonel shot Lester because he realizes that he himself is a gay man, living a lie; afraid of the truth, afraid of people knowing his sexual preference, afraid of losing his family, and afraid of facing himself. This just shows how homophobia can lead a person to commit something drastic like this or worse.
American Beauty takes us deep inside ourselves and invites us to lose the fear of
truly knowing ourselves. If we pretend we are someone we are not, if we desperately hold on to the lies we force ourselves to live, then we only succeed in becoming more lonely and separated.
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