In the movie American Beauty we see a commentary about people in
contemporary society both as individuals and as members of families. I selected the
character of Lester Burnham, played by Kevin Spacey, and did a psychological
examination on him using the biopsychosocial model.
I noticed many important details that had to be read under close evaluation which
represented the heart of Lester. He is a man weighed down with a soul-sucking job as a
corporate slave at a media marketing magazine. And he hates his life.
He doesnt have a
good outlook on much. He starts out as sort of a schlep with bad posture & is out of
shape. He jump-starts each day by masturbating in the shower, and it’s all downhill from
there. He masturbates because of the fact that he does not get sexually fulfilled by his
wife. Lester is slipping deeper and deeper into a hopeless depression, but ironically he is
downright lively about his own misery. He is so depressed but yet he has this feeling of
making a joke about it.
I believe he is repressing feelings and trying to get others around
him to feel sympathetic. Biologically this depression could be from lack of serotonin
produced by his endocrine system. Which his psychological stress brang about the
neurotransmitter imbalance. Their could also be reasons for a genetic hereditary
component for his depression which did not manifest until later in life.
Many people would love to have the luxuries this man has and not think of the
severe problems with his family communication. Today their is not a majority of people
who do not live in a successful middle class society.
Maybe his depression turned the
wife off and their for he created his own downfall.
His job of fourteen years is now letting him know how irreplaceable he is.
This makes him feel worthless. Which decreases his self confidence also. This is one of
Lester’s first snaps to his change . His second snap is when he has an eye-opening
encounter when he sees his daughters cheerleader friend Angela.
Instantly hes obsessed
with her and becomes fed up with his life. Ricky also has influences in Lester by turning
him on to some primo mind-altering marijuana. This pot might be a temporary biological
condition to dramatically affect his functioning in behavior that he normally would not
use. He provides an example for Lester on how to approach life. Lester calls Ricky his
“hero,” when Ricky unemotionally tells his catering boss, “Then don’t pay me.” Here,
talking with Lester was more important to Ricky than a paying job.
Lester an example of how to view his horrible job. He even thinks back to his
past on how happy he was getting laid and partying, how he did have his whole
life ahead of him. But he remembers the feeling of irresponsibleness and not
being nervous to not have stability. He now discovered that he no longer feels
fulfilled in his job or his personal life and now attempts to make a critical shift in a
career and his lifestyle; A midlife crisis. The next day Lester snaps for good. He
turns in a devastatingly honest job description, which results in forcing his corrupt
boss to pay him a sizeable termination bonus.
Facing a midlife crisis, Lester
looks at his life and decides to live it the way he wants to, he no longer can live
life like a prisoner: he quit his job and works at a fast food restaurant because of
the lack of responsibility, starts smoking pot, and begins working out in a
persistent hope to impress Angela. He sees in her something that has been
missing in his life. His physical appearance I believe made him also feel less
confident and had to do with his depression. As he became more fit he became
more confident. He also purchases the car he always wanted. One of his
dreams and fantasies coming to reality also like Angela.
He goes through a kind of decision to rediscover himself, he tries things
he’s never tried, or at least go back to things that he’s long-since forgotten.
Psychologically I believe in .