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Heartwarming / American Beauty

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  • "Sometimes there's so much beauty in the world I feel like I can't take it, like my heart's going to cave in." If you don't think that watching a plastic bag dancing in the wind could ever make you cry, you're wrong.
  • Lester backs down from having sex with Angela after finding out that she's a virgin, and comforts her instead.
    Angela: What's wrong? I thought you said l was beautiful.
    Lester: You are beautiful. You are so beautiful. (wraps a blanket around her) And I would be a very lucky man.
    Angela: (crying) I feel so stupid.
    Lester: Don't. (hugs her)
    Angela: I'm sorry.
    Lester: You have nothing to be sorry about. It's okay. Everything's okay.
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  • This conversation between Lester and Angela afterwards:
    Lester: How's Jane?
    Angela: What do you mean?
    Lester: I mean, how's her life? Is she happy? Is she miserable? I'd really like to know and she'd die before she'd ever tell me about it.
    Angela: She's... she's really happy. She thinks she's in love. (Lester smiles)
    Lester: Good for her.
    Angela: How are you?
    Lester: It's been a long time since anybody asked me that. (pause) I'm great.
  • Lester's life-flashing-before-his-eyes montage. Particularly the last shot of Carolyn, riding one of those tilt-a-whirl machines. You see the woman Lester fell in love with all those years ago...
    I guess I could be pretty pissed off about what happened to me... but it's hard to stay mad, when there's so much beauty in the world. Sometimes I feel like I'm seeing it all at once and it's too much. My heart fills up like a balloon that's about to burst. And then I remember to relax, and stop trying to hold on to it. And then it flows through me like rain and I can't feel anything but gratitude for every single moment of my stupid little life.
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  • There's something touching about the scene where Jane and Ricky are in his room filming each other and talking about their issues with their parents. They just seem... so vulnerable and open with each other.
  • Lester and Ricky bonding early on in the movie. Especially Lester's response to Ricky just quitting his shitty job, which Lester wishes he could do (and later on, actually does). "You just became my personal hero!"
  • Janine the Drive-Thru Manager is kind of a One-Scene Wonder. At first she's non-plussed at Lester wanting to work at the burger joint. By the end of the film when he catches Carolyn cheating on him, he doesn't tolerate her throwing abuse at Janine. You can tell Lester and Janine really like and respect each other.
  • Ricky leaves a burning message for Jane on her lawn, and at first she is creeped out. But then she goes and sits at her mirror and has a small little smile.
    • For bonus points, Ricky is filming and completely ignores Angela doing a sexy dance and focuses on Jane's smiling face in the mirror.
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  • Jane showing her breasts to Ricky. It's her coming out of her shell and feeling that she can trust him with seeing how she looks. Given her saving up for a boob job, it's obviously something she doesn't like about herself. But she trusts that Ricky will like it about her.