Watching this movie, one can't help but notice the vibrant red scattered throughout American Beauty. From the red roses, to the red door of the Burnham's, to the red dress that Carolyn wears when she is caught with Buddy Kane, the color Red seems to be a rather important motif in this film, and may give viewers a deeper insight into the film's significance.
Now, I did try and do some analysis, and it's only an incomplete thought. My analysis, so far, includes the following:
- Roses, in classic literature, are a symbol of youth, innocence, and purity. Lester fantasizes Angela bathing in roses, and she is a symbol of the youth that he had been yearning for. At the beginning of the film, Lester says he lost something, but not sure what, and he desperately wants it back. He later dreams of going back to the good old days, "when [his] life was ahead of him". When Carolyn gets caught, she is wearing a red dress, indicating that she was reliving the more sexy exciting parts of her life while she was with Kane.
- That interpretation of the color Red is inconsistent with many things. The door of the Burnham's house was a vibrant Red, making the rest of the house seem dull and gloomy in comparison. At the end of the film, Red seems to dominate certain frames in the form of fresh blood. Now I don't know how to incorporate "youth" or "innocence" into either of these cases.