Watch America the Beautiful

"Is America obsessed with beauty?"

Though the title is a play on the patriotic hymn, this documentary deals not with our loyalty to our country, but on our obsession with appearance. Documentarian Darryl Roberts explores the lengths to which some people will go to make themselves look beautiful, and attempts to analyze the mindsets of those whose beauty we admire. Recognizing the "magazine cover" stereotype as part of the reason we are so intent on achieving physical perfection, he exposes the unhealthy way we focus physical perfection. There are people who have risked their lives for beauty, indulging in plastic surgery, dangerous tanning methods, even harmful starvation diets, and how obsessed we are.

One of the people highlighted in this documentary is a young woman named Gerren Taylor. During her time at school, she was constantly torn apart for her geeky, gawky appearance, and severely brought down by her classmates. She recounts her stories of schoolgirl torment, and shares how she was a great source of amusement for her classmates. It is revealed that this middle school dork became a beautiful girl as her "worst" features became her most attractive ones, and she now seeks to become one of America's top models; she is already well on her way to achieving that goal, having worked in fashion shows with some of the top designers.

The minds and motives of celebrities famous primarily for their beauty, such as Jessica Simpson and Paris Hilton, are questioned, as well as peddlers of stereotypical and artificial beauty like plastic surgeons, magazine editors and other experts. Cosmetics get a deeper look as some very strange ingredients are revealed to reside within, despite the ridiculous amount of money it is reported we spend on them. Roberts exposes our underlying feelings of fear and consumption that feed this obsession, and shows us that beauty has become the new American Dream.

| 2009 | 1 hr 45 min | 6.9/10 | 40/100
Ted Casablanca, Eve Ensler, Paris Hilton, Chris Keefe
Darryl Roberts
Produced By
Michele G. Bluthenthal Roderick Gatlin Stela Georgieva
America the Beautiful

Also directed by Darryl Roberts

Also starring Eve Ensler

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