Sir? Madam? May I still like American Beauty?
David Klion is a writer and editor in Brooklyn whose work has appeared in The Nation, The New York Times, The Guardian, Jewish Currents, and other publications.
I don’t know, I guess…. not?
I watched American Beauty as a teenager; a female teenager, I should mention, sometimes in the early ’00s. Sadly, it’s been one of my favourite films ever since. I’m not sad that it is my favourite movie, but I am sad for people attempting to make me feel guilty for liking it. There are many reasons you like a movie and not all of them have to do with a right/wrong directions of ethics and values (despite what you’ve been told the last decade), or with fluffy, cute warm feelings, or even -gasp- with representation! I’ll leave Disney and co. to that and their need to get more money through manipulation of people’s low self-esteem.
I like movies for multiple reasons:
- Guy Richie’s Sherlock Holmes films are two of my all time favourite movies, they are my «hurt/comfort» movies.
- Mike Leigh’s Naked is my «uncomfortable as hell» favourite movie. There are times I don’t even like it, but the feeling I get by the end of the movie is too strong not to acknowledge.
- Cohen Brothers’ The man who wasn’t there is my go to «black & white elegance aesthetic» favourite movie.
- American Beauty is one of my favourite «bittersweet movies with a complex, male protagonist». Neil Jordan’s The Crying Game is another one in this list.