American Beauty is a 1999 American drama film directed by Sam Mendes and written by Alan Ball. Kevin Spacey stars as Lester Burnham, a 42-year-old advertising executive who has a midlife crisis when he becomes infatuated with his teenage daughter's best friend, Angela (Mena Suvari). Annette Bening co-stars as Lester's materialistic wife, Carolyn, and Thora Birch plays their insecure daughter, Jane. Wes Bentley, Chris Cooper and Allison Janney also feature. The film is described by academics as a satire of American middle class notions of beauty and personal satisfaction; analysis has focused on the film's explorations of romantic and paternal love, sexuality, beauty, materialism, self-liberation, and redemption.