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Movie Shows Value of Communication

I was fortunate enough to find myself with enough free time to attend the sneak preview of American Beauty at MIT on Wednesday. The review of the movie which ran in The Tech on Friday was well-written and brought up several good points. However, I think that the review also missed one important aspect of the film.

As I understand it, one of the important themes of American Beauty was loneliness -- an emptiness that can be found not only in isolation, but among groups. The movie gives the example of an American family, in which the members have become withdrawn to the point that there is no real family, but simply a collection of three lonely people who just happen to share the same roof.

I think that this is an important concept for any person to understand. Even among friends, if there is an unwillingness to listen or to be heard, the outcome can be just the same as if a person had no friends at all. Loneliness leads to desperation and desperation leads to acts of chaos, both tiny and very, very large and disastrous.

I applaud American Beauty simply because it emphasizes this point. Communication -- a willingness to listen and to be heard -- is a valuable prize that people should nurture and work for. I believe that this is a pertinent lesson that every person should take to heart.

Tzu-Mainn Chen ’99