On the other hand, there is the idea of true beauty, which reflects the existence of an absolute set of standards for what is beautiful, separate from what the masses say is beautiful, and separate from the social conventions of any given period in history. True beauty may or may not jive with what the conventional notions of beauty are at any given time, but one understands that there are eternal qualities associated with true beauty, that stand the test of time. This true beauty requires a different kind of vision for sure than what people ordinarily possess in the movie American Beauty. The implicit message in the movie is that the perception of true beauty requires a certain kind of intelligence, and a certain kind of knowing and vision that is also more elevated and removed from the conventional. This paper asserts that a key take from the movie is that , one can say that far from refining and elevating aesthetic sensibilities, conforming with the rules of society deadens rather than sharpens that vision that allows for the glimpse of true beauty. In the end, with Lester dead, and all of the pressures of family and society removed, with Lester free, he is able to find out what beauty really is (IMDb.com; Smith).
From Lesters life and the life of his family we see how the film portrays conformism as a dead end that leads to the deadening of life and the sapping away of that vital force that forges relationships and bonds people. Conformism saps away joy and the fun out of life. This seems to be the initial message of the movie. In it too is lost the conception of beauty that makes life at least bearable and worth living. Ricky, young and full of life, seems to be blessed in this regard, that not having to conform, he is free to pursue joy, and to see beauty. On the other end of the spectrum are repressed lives. Not everything is as it seems. Angela, the young girl who is outwardly beautiful, in herself