One of my favorite movies of all-time is American Beauty. The 1999 award-winning film stars Kevin Spacey who played Lester Burnham, a 40-something guy who hated his job and was on the brink of a mid-life crisis. The inflection point was when he saw his daughter’s gorgeous 16-year-old cheerleader friend, Angela Hayes (Mena Suvari), perform during a half-time dance routine at a high school basketball game.
Lester becomes so infatuated with Angela that he began having sexual fantasies with her. He becomes obsessed with youth that he started to live his life like he just graduated from high school. And when he was told that he was about to get laid off, he instead blackmailed his boss for $60,000. He then quits work anyway choosing to work as a crew in a fast-food chain instead– the position with, in his own words, the least amount of responsibility.
But what really caught my attention is the scene where Lester Burnham wonders in his cubicle while seeing a reflection of his image on the monitor, which resembles a guy trapped in a jail cell. With the numbers on the spreadsheet forming the jail bars in his mind, it’s pretty obvious that he felt imprisoned by his job and wanted an escape. A feeling that many people can sympathize.