By Rita Henley Jensen
Thursday, April 20, 2000
Imagine, five, count 'em five, Oscars for "American Beauty" a visually exciting film that had so much right about homophobia but with a plot that was nothing more than that same old sexist song...
Imagine, five, count 'em five, Oscars for "American Beauty" a visually exciting film that had so much right about homophobia but with a plot that was nothing more than that same old sexist song: sex-starved middle-age man, cuckolded by a shrewish, ambitious wife and seduced by a blond teen-ager, goes through crisis and turns out to be an okay guy after all.
Kevin Spacey said the wonderful thing about his character was that all of his worst qualities were displayed and "we still grew to love him." Too bad that wasn't true for Annette Bening's wife/mother/real estate agent role. She did not manage to convey a single iota of humanity and the audience hated her as much at the end as they did when she was coming on to the local real estate kingpin.
The only good news was that Bening did not win for best actress, and Hilary Swank did--for her brilliant portrayal of Brandon Teena, a young person raped and murdered by two guys who discovered their friend was female passing as male.
Kudo to Swank who ended her thank-you patter with this apparently sincere plea: "I pray for the day when we not only accept our differences but we actually celebrate our diversity."