Indie Gems: American Honey

Do you have dreams?

Star (Sasha Lane) has been having a rough go of it. When we first meet her, she's dumpster diving with two young children trying to find food for the abusive household she lives in. While she's out, she meets Jake (Shia LaBeouf) a magazine salesmen in a van full of free spirited young people. He convinces her to come with them and work for Krystal (Riley Keough) traveling across America.

What makes Star the mots intriguing is how grey her character is. She's introduced to us as responsible for looking out for her half siblings (I'm assuming that's what they are, the film doesn't explain) but then she just dumps them with their absentee mother to leave with Jake and the others. It made me ponder on whether or not that was a good move, whether I blamed her, or thought she was ever coming back.

American Honey forced me to watch something I couldn't relate with at all. I could never be a door to door salesman, partying all day and night, then crashing in seedy motels. Some of the people in this group are despicable as well, like Krystal who acts like their pimp to another who steals a perfectly cared for dog because she wanted it for herself. But director Andrea Arnold captures all this without judging eyes. She has a way of shooting that makes anything her camera touches feel organic.

This is Sasha Lane's film debut and she's wonderful in it. Both her and LaBeouf have complicated chemistry. If there's one mistake the movie has, it's that it's far too long. When you make a film that pushes three hours, there shouldn't be filler and there were far too many scenes of the magazine crew singing along to music in their van to justify the film's length.

Grade: B-

Watched on: DVD

Memorable Quote: "So you're a real American honey like me?" - Krystal (Riley Keough)

10 comments:

  1. "another who steals a perfectly cared for dog because she wanted it for herself."

    thanks for sparing me watching this :D

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    1. It's such a small part of the movie but it's incredibly stupid.

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  2. I haven't seen it yet and feel like I need to rectify that but I'm still not sure if I feel hot or cold toward it - I guess like you, I'll likely feel some of both.

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    1. It's worth a watch but it's overlong. lol

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  3. Being someone who loves Andrea Arnold's work, this is a film that I really want to see. I missed it when it was playing in the theaters.

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    1. I did too, though it was only here briefly.

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  4. Everyone seems to love this one. Hope to watch it soon.

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    1. It's not great, but it's a good watch. I wouldn't say I loved it.

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  5. This movie is good, not great. I love Arnold's style, but I really wish she would dial it back in the editing room. There is no need for this movie to be damn near 3 hours. She made her point 57 times by the end. Fish Tank is a far better film. Sasha Lane is a find for sure, but Shia Lebeouf disgusts me. Nobody wears a rattail anymore, not even dirtbag magazine salesmen. I wrote a short piece on this on letterboxd if you want to check it out.

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    1. lol the rat tail. I'll have to look for it on Letterboxd. I agree she really needed to edit this film better, then length was ridiculous.

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