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American Beauty: Look Closer... (2000)

A closer look at the making of Sam Mendes' American Beauty (1999), one of the greatest cultural phenomena of all time.


Barbara Toennies




Credited cast:
Scott Bakula ... Himself
Alan Ball ... Himself
Annette Bening ... Herself
Wes Bentley ... Himself
Thora Birch ... Herself / Jane Burnham
Bruce Cohen ... Himself
Chris Cooper ... Himself
Peter Gallagher ... Himself
Conrad L. Hall ... Himself
Dan Jinks ... Himself
Sam Mendes ... Himself
Kevin Spacey ... Himself
Steven Spielberg ... Himself
Mena Suvari ... Herself


A closer look at the making of Sam Mendes' American Beauty (1999), one of the greatest cultural phenomena of all time. The documentary focus on the film's explosive and successful impact during its release winning the hearts and minds of critics and audiences, and also presents Mendes, writer Alan Ball, the many actors from the cast exposing their views on the film and what draw them into the project, and there's also moments from the filming. Written by Rodrigo Amaro

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis









Release Date:

24 October 2000 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

CMC West, DreamWorks See more »
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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital | DTS | SDDS



Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


This making-of is featured on the DVD for American Beauty (1999). See more »


Features American Beauty (1999) See more »

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User Reviews

does give insight as to where they're coming from
27 September 2011 | by zimbo_the_donkey_boySee all my reviews

Look Closer . . . . . . the making of American Beauty

This bonus short for American Beauty's double-VHS & DVD begins & ends at an appearance at a celebrity event. You learn from this that American Beauty exemplifies suburbia or at least shows us suburbanites what Los Angelites imagine us to be and thus are. I also learned that much of what led to American Beauty's differences from other films is that it's made in the style of plays & musicals by those from the theatre and, as long as you are not the one person in America who doesn't like plays or musicals, you shall enjoy that.

The screenwriter gives us The Seed of the script. The producers share that it's the best screenplay they'd ever read. So they looked for a studio brave enough to buy the script. Director Mendes, "It was unlike anything I'd ever read before, and you can't say that about many scripts." Spacey & Benning were his 1st choices. Benning felt the script put her on familiar ground. Spacey was struck by how real it felt.

How they all got to know each other before shooting American Beauty, in a 2-week rehearsal period. The stars interpret the story for us, as they're interviewed. I guess their comments could be used to write IMDb's main page for American Beauty. Thoughts on the cinematographer and the score. Spielberg's thoughts, such as his not expecting so much "raw truth". I may not agree with much of what was claimed to us but I do see this Making Of short as very enlightening about the thoughts behind American Beauty. Screenwriter Ball, "Beauty is in the strangest places -- of a piece of garbage floating in the wind."

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