Red, white and blue – the use of colour in American Beauty

We have talked so much about the use of red in American Beauty but other key colours in the film include white and blue. The use of red, white and blue obviously suggest America and help us to focus on the film’s messages. Red, white and blue come through in clear and at times subtle ways. Let’s look at some examples from the beginning of the film.

Remember when one of the Jim’s was admiring Carolyn’s roses and asks her how she is able to grow such beautiful red roses? Carolyn says she uses eggshells (white) and miracle grow (blue). Red, white and blue. Then we have Lester running from the house, he’s late for work and rushing. He drops his briefcase. What spills out? Red, white and blue folders. What is surrounding him? A white fence, white trim on the windows, the red door, the blue shutters …

So what do you think Mendes is trying to tell us?


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