American Beauty

Dropbox Assignment: American Beauty

This dropbox assignment is part of Vol State’s Seek initiative, giving students opportunities to refine problem-solving skills. For this activity, you will take the role of a movie-maker and will propose a creative solution to a challenge.

Your challenge:
Imagine you are a screenwriter asked to remake American Beauty. This film provides a lot of subjective cinematography, seen from the point of view of a particular character. Remember, for example, the scene when Lester watches Angela perform in the school gym and then fantasizes about her. We see and hear this scene almost entirely as Lester experiences it. You, the screenwriter, must remake any scene in the film from a different character’s point of view. Choose a character who would bring a meaningful new perspective to an event or encounter. Some of the characters are round characters about whom we know a lot, and others are not as well developed; you may choose either type. After choosing a character, discuss how his or her perspective would alter the focus or meaning of the movie. In this exercise, look in detail at one key scene and describe the changes you would make to present it from your chosen character’s point of view. (If you wish to change events, that is fine, but stick to the parameters of the original film.)

Your dropbox submission must address the following, labeling each section with these four headings and answering each prompt fully:


Identify, in a sentence or two, which character and scene you have chosen and, in general, how the choice could enhance the film.


Discuss the following in a well-developed paragraph:
– Which other character(s) did you consider? Why did you settle on your choice, as opposed to other characters?
– How did you decide which scene to remake?


Write several paragraphs about your approach to this challenge. Specifically describe the revised scene as you envision it. What would the audience see? Consider how the actors would behave and consider the mise-en-scene: set, props, etc. What would the audience hear? Consider music as well as the sort of conversations characters might have. Discuss what would you be trying to communicate through your revision: what would the new scene reveal about the movie’s characters and its themes?


In a paragraph, consider the outcome of your remake. Discuss problems you faced. What was confusing or difficult? Discuss how critics and viewers might receive your version of the film. Do you think it would be as highly acclaimed, and would it survive the test of time? Or, is it essential to each scene that it retains a particular character’s perspective (which is primarily that of Lester)?