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// Films // America the Beautiful

America the Beautiful

Darryl Roberts / United States / 2007 / 105 ' / English

Credits

Charles Miller
Gavin Wynn
Roderick Gatlin, Stela Georgieva, Dr. Henry Anderson, Michael Beach & Dennis Damore

Awards & Festivals

Winner, Special Jury Award, Best Director, Chicago International Film Festival
Winner, Special Jury Award, Chicago International Children's Film Festival
Winner, Audience Award, Giofonni International Children's Film Festival
Winner, Best Documentary, Beloit International Film Festival

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Is America obsessed with beauty and at what cost?

Synopsis

The United States is known to be one of the wealthiest nations on the planet and has the most opportunity for it’s citizens, bar none. With this much abundance,why are Americans so discontent? Filmmaker Darryl Roberts goes on a two year journey to examine America’s new obsession; Physical Perfection.

In “America the Beautiful,” we learn the secrets, confessions, and strikingly harsh realities as Roberts unearths the origins and deadly risks of our nation’s quest for physical perfection. The conventional answers of too much television, and easy access to plastic surgery, doesn't fully explain this national psychosis. These same images are found all over Europe and Canada, yet their citizens do not have this equivalent obsession.

Looking at the glossy pages of supermarket magazines, Americans have found ourselves wishing they were a little more like ‘that’. The hope of achieving these 'ideals' has us buying cosmetics, toiletries, fashion and plastic surgeries at increasingly dramatic rates. Has the American Dream changed so much that it can only be achieved once we can perfectly emulate the super thin and sexy images of Britney Spears or other pop icons?

In “America the Beautiful” we hear how these increasingly unattainable images are seen as a major contributor to the rise in low self-esteem, body dismorphia and eating disorders for young women and girls, who are the beauty industry's largest consumer. So who actually benefits from this high-priced journey towards this ideal? Is corporate America’s bottom line so important that it justifies a nation’s psychosis? And at what cost?

At the heart of “America the Beautiful” is the story of Gerren Taylor, who went from being an innocent 12 year old girl to being the country's next top supermodel. As she and her mother head down the windy road to stardom, we will watch the dichotomy between Gerren's adolescent struggles and her adult “rights of passage” on the catwalks of Marc Jacobs, DKNY, Tommy Hilfiger and other top designers. Her tumultuous quest acts as a mirror to our American psyche, as we see how the same beauty that could create her career could ultimately destroy her young life.

In order to find out what has pre-teens standing in line for their turn on “I Want a Famous Face", or middle America’s adults on “Extreme Makeover”, Roberts dives deeply into America's culture of fear, consumption, and idolatry for all things external. To do this he seeks answers from celebrities, media,academia, as well as everyday Americans.

 

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