There is no question that "American Beauty" shifted the way storytelling in mainstream Hollywood was told. The film itself was a game-changer, and with that came the Oscar and Golden Globe-nominated score by Thomas Newman. Many consider this score to be one of the top scores of his career. Newman utilized percussion instruments to create the mood and rhythm of the emotional arcs of each character, and the blocking in each scene.
This scene in particular is a perfect example of Newman's incredible attenuation to complex emotion, exhibited by percussion combined with a simple piano motif. As Annette Benning's character Carolyn tries to sell a decrepit house, one can feel the stress set in as the walls begin to metaphorically crack around her. If you haven't experienced this film, you should do so. It was the beginning of a fruitful and incredible creative relationship between director Sam Mendes and Thomas Newman in the many years (and films) to come.
Listen to the score: https://open.spotify.com/album/11y3Dzg44npGsTWKtmuzTW?si=WW21TilkQcSkXcrbia0bWQ&dl_branch=1
Where to watch: https://letterboxd.com/film/american-beauty/
Every Monday and Wednesday, SCORE CUE SNAPSHOTS brings you iconic scenes married to the corresponding score cue without dialogue and SFX, thus allowing anyone to appreciate how the score works with what you see unfold on-screen.