In a sense, we can refer to the America depicted in American Beauty as “dysfunctional”. Pick one family and analyze the abnormal or unhealthy interaction between the family members.
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I think that perhaps the saddest most dysfunctional family has to be the Fitts family. The father, Col. Frank Fitts, is a closet homosexual filled with del-loathing and anger.Barbara Fitts exists like a ghost in the background. WE can surmise that all of Col. Fits's anger and repression would be turned on his wife. He lives the illusion of a "tough" and "masculine" military man. Feelings, compassion and empathy are seen as weaknesses. The son, Ricky Fitts, lives his own separate life. He sells pot as a side job and contemplates the stillness of life. His calm and almost zen-like demeanour is probably a necessity to cope with his father's hatred and self-loathing. Together this family doesn't communicate at all. They live in the shadows of each other, merely an illusion of a family rather than a real family.