In the film American Beauty, the true beauty behind the story is the realization and perception of the beauty which abounds in everyday life.
The characters in the film are anything but ordinary. Set against the background of American suburbia, a cast of unseemly characters lead their lives aimlessly. Their interests seem frivolous, censurable, and at many times humorous. They all seem to go against the grain of what is considered to be expected of a normal family. Therefore it seems ironic that the title should be, American Beauty, when the lives of the people are anything but beautiful. The movie itself is narrated by the main character, Lester Burnham (Kevin Spacey), a character who repeatedly finds himself fantasizing about his daughter's best friend. So where is the beauty within American Beauty? The plastic bag which captivates Ricky Fitz (Wes Bentley) seems like such a mundane expression of beauty, yet is the perfect example of the true beauty which surrounds the film. Although this might seem strange it's not the exterior opinion of the plastic bag wafting through the air that is important, rather it is in the profound experience and feeling that emanates from witnessing it. It seems to stem from nowhere, but as one watches the bag float through the breeze, it no longer becomes an image of a piece of trash drifting on the streets, but a thing of beauty which cannot be explained.
The true beauty implied in American Beauty communicates itself as possessing the ability to break away from the banal, conforming habit of everyday life and witness the true beauty which surrounds us at any given moment. As the slogan for the film states, "Look Closer.".