American Beauty Cast: Where Are They Now?

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Last week marked the 15th anniversary of the release of American Beauty.

The film would go on to gross over $350 million and win five Academy Awards including Best Picture.

Beauty was widely considered to be among the best of the '90s, but years since have seen a critical reappraisal of the the film, with the term "overrated" being tossed about a good deal. 

Recently, even the film's director Sam Mendes confessed that he considered Beauty to be "over-praised" when it first hit theaters in 1999.

Even so, Beauty has retained an incredible level of cultish adoration and seems poised to be the sort of movie that will find an audience amongst disaffected teens and bored, middle-aged suburbanites for generations to come

The film's cast has experienced its own share of ups and downs, with some actors going on to A-list success, others fading into an obscurity, and at least one achieving a remarkable comeback.

Wes Bentley's role in The Hunger Games may not have been the most memorable part of the film, but to those who followed his career as he went from Beauty's brooding neighbor to washed-up addict deemed unworthy even of tabloid coverage, his return to the big screen was nothing short of miraculous.

While Bentley's remarkable resurgence is impressive to say the least, the film's greatest success story remains the career of Kevin Spacey.

Spacey was already an Oscar winner when he took on the role of walking midlife crisis Lester Burnham (he'd take home his second statuette for Beauty). 

But even with his previous accolades, few could have predicted the sort of versatility and enduring popularity that Spacey would come to embody.

These days, of course, Spacey is drawing raves for his role in the Netflix series House of Cards.

It's a role that would be hard to imagine him in if you knew Spacey only as the meek Mr. Burnham, and it's attracted an audience using technology that didn't exist at the time Lester's meltdown.

Needless to say, while Lester was attempting to relive the past, Spacey has clearly spent his career looking to the future. And it's certainly paid off.

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