Barry Del Sherman Brad Dupree Lester Burnham is a middle-aged advertising executive and magazine writer who despises his job. He is unhappily married to Carolyn, a neurotic yet fiercely ambitious real estate broker who grows red roses in their yard; their teenage daughter, Jane, abhors her parents and has low self-esteem. The Burnhams' new neighbors are the Fitts family, consisting of a homophobic retired U. Marine Corps Colonel Frank Fitts, his near-catatonic wife, Barbara, and their teenage son, Ricky, who constantly films his surroundings with a camcorder, collecting hundreds of recordings on videotapes in his bedroom.
12 Spectacular Facts About ‘American Beauty’ | Mental Floss
October 1st, Mena Suvari on a bed of roses in American Beauty. One of the many things that make American Beauty a great movie is the character Lester Burnham, incredibly portrayed by Kevin Spacey; his numbness, his frustration at an existence which has become completely inane. He is really playing every aging suburban baby-boomer that has reached a point in life where nothing has turned out as expected. His wife has turned coldly ambitious, his job is suddenly in peril unless he kisses enough asses, and his daughter thinks he is completely pathetic. When the high point of your day is a morning whack-off session in the shower you can be sure you have just butted your head against the wall of a mid-life crisis. Lester Burnham reacts by quitting his job, smoking marijuana and sexually fantasizing about his daughter's best friend. Spacey makes Lester seem so real and natural that it is easy to overlook just how great this performance is, but if you look closely you will see a brilliant artist at work.
We see Lester in the shower masturbating. As the camera passes by the frosted shower door, we see just the top of his bare butt he's facing away from us and see his arm moving in a rhythmic fashion at his crotch but never see the actual act. He states that "jerking off" is the highlight of his day. Lester and Carolyn's neighbors are two gay lovers, but we don't see any activity between them.