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The Burnhams aren’t your typical, everyday family. Husband/Dad Lester is caught in the midst of a mid-life crisis and becoming increasingly enamored with his daughter’s friend, Angela. Meanwhile, his realtor wife, Carolyn, is having an affair while daughter Jane starts to develop a friendship with the boy next door. Here are a few movie mistakes to look for while watching “American Beauty”.
• Near the beginning of the movie, the family is eating dinner together. Jane gets up and leaves the table. There are two burning candles on the table. When Carolyn says “what” the second time, the candle in front of Lester (to the left of the screen) is now longer than it was in previous views.
• Carolyn is in the house that she is trying to sell. She closes the blinds on the window and at one point the cord falls over her right shoulder. But when it cuts to a far view, the cord is off her shoulder when she begins to walk away.
• After he talks to Angela and Jane at school, Ricky joins his parents at home where they’re watching TV. During a front view of the TV, there is a small glass statuette on the left and framed pictures on the right. In the view of the TV from behind, there is nothing on top of it. But the items are back again in the following front view.
• Lester is sitting in a chair in the living room when Carolyn comes home. There is a black fabric/clothing clothing over the pillow on the couch. It’s still on the pillow when Carolyn sits on the sofa. But when Lester sits next to her, the black fabric/clothing is now beside the pillow. Also during this scene, when Lester throws the pillow, it lands in the chair behind him. But, in the next close-up it’s gone. When Carolyn leaves the room a few moments later, the pillow is leaning on the arm of the chair.
• Lester is working out in the garage when Carolyn begins to argue with him. When the garage door opens, Carolyn is wearing her gloves. But, when she talks about “hostility” and comes in the garage, she’s not wearing them.
• After the altercation with Jane and Ricky, Angela is sitting in the dark when she asks Lester if it’s alright to play the stereo. When Angela stands up, her hair falls over her left shoulder and mostly behind her right one. Here hair is still the same in the next two close-up views of her. But, when Lester offers her a sip of beer, Angela’s hair now falls over both shoulders.
“American Beauty” (1999) stars Kevin Spacey, Annette Benning, Thora Birch, Wes Bentley, Mena Suvari, Chris Cooper, Peter Gallagher and Allison Janney. It runs 122 minutes and is rated R for strong sexuality, language, violence and drug content.
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