American Beauty is a 1999 American drama film directed by Sam Mendes and written by Alan Ball. Kevin Spacey stars as Lester Burnham, an office worker who has a midlife crisis when he becomes infatuated with his teenage daughter's best friend, Angela Hayes (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 has been 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.