American Beauty And My Life

american beauty

When the movie American Beauty came out in 1999, it was instantly my favorite movie of all time and Lester Burnham was my hero and a man above all other men in by book. However, to be honest, this really was not a good thing and I will tell you why…

American Beauty And My Life

Looking at Lester’s life, he was a plain old miserable son of a bitch without much to live for. His wife was no picnic to be around, his daughter essentially hated him, he was stuck in job that was not only going nowhere but also about to be eliminated. As far as men go, to say that Lester Burnham was completely emasculated would be a gross understatement.

Yet I loved Lester and the character and although he eventually came into his own personal power before the end of the movie… I could completely relate, empathize, and sympathize with his plight and lot in life.

Over the holidays and looking for some distraction, I started watching American Beauty for the first time in many, many years. To be honest, I did not get that far into it before giving up. I hated it. It depressed me and kind of made me sad. The man that I once so closely identified with and felt a kinship with now seemed so foreign to me, and again, there is a reason for that…  Just to be clear, when I was watching it a couple weeks ago, I hated it!

When the movie came out the reason that it drew me in so much is that my life was so much like Lester’s and to be clear, I was pretty much a miserable son of a bitch myself. My job was a pain in the ass, my relationship wasn’t much better, I had no fire for life anymore, and ultimately I was unhappy myself.

If there is a point to this article, it is this… I am filled with gratitude that along the way I never did fully become a Lester and in fact, I did the quite the opposite. This movie made me take a good look at where I was in life 20 years ago, compared to where I am now, as I viewed the movie with a completely new set of eyes.

With the eyes of a victor… and not the eyes of a helpless victim…

Andy Wooten M.A. Counseling – A Certified Life Coach In Aspen Colorado

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Photo Credit – The movie “American Beauty”, directed by Sam Mendes and written by Alan Ball. Seen here, Kevin Spacey as Lester Burnham, mesmerized by blonde cheerleader. Initial theatrical wide release October 1, 1999. Screen capture. © 1999 DreamWorks. Credit: © 1999 DreamWorks / Flickr / Courtesy Pikturz.
Image intended only for use to help promote the film, in an editorial, non-commercial context.


  1. Isn’t life fantastic ? 😉

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