"The first half of Moonlight Mile feels like the runaway trailer for a movie that can't wait to jerk your tears. But to quote Joe in a moment of epiphany, there's a ''truth enema'' out there, and, boy, it really brings this movie around." -Wesley Morris review for "Boston Globe". Source: Filmspot.com
Bertie Knox: "Where'd you go, Joe?"
"It's the story of a young man, Neil, whose free and lascivous lifestyle hides the scars of a pedophile's victim, forever present, defining who he is. A disturbing but fascinating film that I will find hard to forget, I didn't believe that it all could be portrayed in such a poetic, dreamlike manner. Joseph Gordon-Levitt has a magnetic presence, I couldn't help feel attracted to his character. How fascinating that the impetus behind Neil's freedom is the very thing that holds him forever prisoner. That which defines him is also that which destroys him." Source: "A Spaceman's blog"
"When I finally did see the prologue, my initial interpretation was confirmed. Except for the prologue, "American Beauty" is a movie within a movie. The movie that was released in theaters was financed by Dreamworks. The film within that movie was composed by Ricky in his head.
The frame is the prologue, a brief bit of videotape shot by Ricky. Jane laments that her father is a libidinous loser. “Someone should really just put him out of his misery,” she says. “Want me to kill him for you?” Ricky replies. Long pause. “Yeah.”
The narrative is Ricky’s fantasy. He kills Lester the only way he can — through film. Yet he saves Lester, too, liberating him from his job, giving him a small measure of self-respect, and finding in him a small trace of selflessness. That he finally offs him (through the character of his father) can be seen as a mercy killing, because Lester’s unsustainable epiphanies and satisfactions would surely give way to more misery. Lester dies happy.
Ricky accomplishes other goals. He gets to run away, something he clearly wouldn’t do in real life. He frees Jane. He awakens Carolyn’s sexuality. He breaks his father. He simultaneously destroys the cheerleader’s façade and shows her (through Lester) a small measure of grace and kindness.
This is his fantasy, his only way of gaining control of his life and the lives of the people around him. He gets to play God, while in reality he is meek, introverted to the point of ostracization, and paralyzed. (In Lester one sees what Ricky fears for his future. Whether he realizes it or not, though, he suffers from many of the same problems as his protagonist, and he is unhappy in exactly the same way.)" Source: Culturesnob.com
As well as Joe and Bertie leaving that small New England town behind, there is a final where antiheroine Jane Burnham (Thora Birch) runs away from her unhinged family in company of Ricky Fitts (Wes Bentley) going to New York, also Claire Fisher (Lauren Ambrose) played a similar role in "Six feet under" when in the end of the series she decides to run away from her home, driving her Toyota Prius way to New York.
"The project that followed American Beauty, the HBO series Six Feet Under, is essentially a character-by-character recreation of the movie’s key players. Its family is composed of figures culled from the three households in American Beauty: Allison Janney’s automaton housewife reappears in Frances Conroy’s Ruth Fisher; Kevin Spacey’s selfishly distant father shows up in Richard Jenkin’s Nathaniel Fisher; Wes Bentley’s drifter ’n’ dreamer has grown up to become Peter Krause’s Nate Fisher Jr.; Thora Birch’s ironic-but-wants-to-be-earnest teenager is the mirror image of Lauren Ambrose’s Claire Fisher;" Source: Althouse.blogspot.com
Thora Birch as redhead resembling to Lauren Ambrose.
not only that, both Alan Ball's antiheroines share a heated relationship with Mena Suvari.
Mena Suvari as Edie in the Episode 407 "Portrait of Edie" of "Six Feet under". Jane Burnham and Claire Fisher are the female postmodern equivalents of Peter Pan. Rachel Hurl-Wood,who played Wendy Darling in "Peter Pan" (2003) is like a crazy mix between Lauren Ambrose plus Michelle Trachtenberg -Wendy Peterson in "Mysterious Skin" (2004)-.