Thursday, October 15, 2009

Look Closer

In American Beauty, going from equilibrium to disequilibrium to new equilibrium seems present throughout. The film is a great example of narrative because it follows the life of one family. There is a voice-over by Lester Burnham, told from his point of view, about how he deals with his life and family. In the beginning, there seems to be harmony, until we look closer. When we enter their private home, nothing is as it seems on the outside. But this is the equilibrium we are introduced to: that Lester is unloved by his only child and is pushed around by his wife.
The disequilibrium comes when a neighbor who takes after Jamie, LEster's daughter, moves in next door and when LEster quits his job for good and reapplies at a fast food restaurant.

The film also rides heavily on causality. At the very beginning of the movie, we see a clip of Jamie being filmed by Ricky, her next door neighbor. They plot to kill her dad and we assume that this is going to happen in the movie. Later on, Carolyn Burnham, LEster's wife, is discovered to be having an affair, another form of disequilibrium that disrupts the narrative.

LEster, who was the push over in the beginning, is now the dominant one in the second half and Carolyn is the one being pushed around. She decides to seek revenge and plans to kill him... until she is beaten to it by someone... which I will not reveal.

The many plot twists in the movie makes it a great example for narrative.

1 comment:

  1. What would you say the new equilibrium is? Or do you not believe the film has one?