"American Beauty" and the Oedipus Complex Theory Film Review by Research Group

"American Beauty" and the Oedipus Complex Theory
Examines the Oedipus complex theory in the film, "American Beauty."
# 25673 | 1,284 words | 1 source | MLA | 2002 | US
Published on May 01, 2003 in Psychology (Freud) , Film (Analysis, Criticism, Etc.) , Psychology (Theory)

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This paper examines the film, "American Beauty," directed by Sam Mendes. It looks at one of the Oedipal structures in the film and considers why this particular relationship holds such fascination to the viewers. The relationship studied is that of the Fitts family. The father, a career Marine, rules the family with a strict hand, but he is unable to control the fact that his discipline has turned his wife into a nearly catatonic figure and his son into an extremely successful drug dealer and voyeur. The paper shows that by the film's end, the son has rebelled against the father and managed to destroy him, in a remarkable completion of the Oedipus myth, as reinterpreted by Freud.

From the Paper:

"The classic aspects of the situation are part of their attraction for audience members. The struggle between father and son is one that always favors the triumph of the younger, newer generation; this triumph remains dramatically satisfying. The scene in which Ricky finally (and literally) rises above his father, vanquishes him, and strikes out on his own, is tremendously rich as a cinematic set piece because it adheres to the outlines of the myth so effectively. The entire relationship is fascinating also because of the power of two exquisitely fine actors in the role of father and son. Cooper endows Colonel Fitts with a taut militarism that is both hateful and comprehensible at the same time. When he appears in one of his last scenes, broken, tortured, and soaking wet, he is heartbreakingly wonderful to watch. Though the events that have led him to this moment make the character deserving of every second of torment, he is also deeply sympathetic because of his flaws."

Cite this Film Review:

APA Format

"American Beauty" and the Oedipus Complex Theory (2003, May 01) Retrieved April 23, 2024, from https://www.academon.com/film-review/american-beauty-and-the-oedipus-complex-theory-25673/

MLA Format

""American Beauty" and the Oedipus Complex Theory" 01 May 2003. Web. 23 April. 2024. <https://www.academon.com/film-review/american-beauty-and-the-oedipus-complex-theory-25673/>