Deze film opent met de volgende voice-over openingszin door hoofdrolspeler Lester Burnham (rol van Kevin Spacey):
"My name is Lester Burnham. This is my street. This is my neighborhood. This is my life. I am 42 years old. In less than a year, I will be dead. Of course, I don't know that yet, and in a way, I'm dead already. Look at me, jerking off in the shower. This will be the highlight of my day. It's all downhill from here. That's my wife Carolyn. See the way the handle on those pruning shears match her gardening clogs? That's not an accident. That's our neighbor, Jim, and that's his lover, Jim. Man, I get exhausted just watching her. She wasn't always like this. She used to be happy. We used to be happy. My daughter, Jane. Only child. Janie's a pretty typical teenager: angry, insecure, confused. I wish I could tell her that's all going to pass...but I don't want to lie to her. Both my wife and daughter think I'm this gigantic loser. And in a way, they're right. I have lost something. I'm not exactly sure what, but I know I didn't always feel this...sedated. But you know what? It's never too late to get it back."
uit: American Beauty (1999), regie Sam Mendes, met o.a. Kevin Spacey (Lester Burnham) en Annette Bening (Carolyn Burnham) in de hoofdrol.