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In the movie American Beauty, we see Colonel Frank Fitts tried to kiss Lester Burnham just before the latter was killed. Why did he try to do so? At first, I thought Frank himself was gay too. But later the fact that he was trying to check whether Lester was gay or not started making more sense to me. However I am not still sure. So can it be said definitely whether Frank was gay or not?

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I really am confused and see both sides of this argument. When I first watched the movie it appeared to me that the Colonel was gay and that he had previously repressed his feelings in self denial. But after talking to a knowledgeable critic, I was convinced that the latter argument made was true. – Jonas Bietz Feb 1 at 20:11

Frank Fitts is a closet/repressed homosexual. There are a few pointers for this:

  • He had a Southern upbringing, one which is very Christian and anti-gay
  • He has a failed marriage and barely touches his wife
  • He was in the army, a society of men, possibly with a lot of man-on-man action going on
  • He is also vehemently anti-gay which could be interpreted to be a form of Freudian projection, a defence mechanism for self-denial.

Frank kissed Lester because:

  • He was under the mistaken impression that Lester was gay
  • Lester informed him that his wife was probably out cheating on him
  • His own relationship with his wife was virtually non-existent; this led him to believe that Lester and he were in similar situations
  • He finally caved in to his desires, in many ways encouraged by Ricky's open (false) confession of his sexuality
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That would make his reason for killing Lester that he felt rejected, rather than to protect his son from "the evil of homosexuality"? I always assumed he tested Lester by attempting the kiss, never saw the underlying theme. – Flater Oct 27 '15 at 9:13

He was a repressed homosexual. Fitts killed Lester, because Lester who rejected Fitts now knows his shame. He could not live with that.

Why did Fitts kiss Lester? Because everything up to that moment in Fitts' mind indicated Lester was a homosexual, but more than that....he came to assume Lester was also hiding it behind his marriage just as Fitts' hides his.

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No, he was not gay or in the closet, he loved his son so much he was willing to try to kiss a man in a desperate attempt to accept homosexuality therefore being able to accept his son

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Wow, I sure don't know where you got these conclusions. There was never an ounce of love shown between Col Fitts and either his wife or son. He was very much a closeted conservative latent homosexual. He spent a lifetime hiding his tendencies, being retired military. – CGCampbell Nov 23 '14 at 4:44

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