I adored Andrea Arnold’s previous film Fish Tank, and had fairly high expectations for American Honey, especially after it was lauded by critics and made tons of Best of 2016 lists. I thoroughly enjoyed my time spent with the film, but didn’t love it as much as I had hoped I would. The film follows Star (Sasha Lane), who joins a traveling group of young magazine salespeople and becomes encapsulated in a wild world of partying, sex, and crazy adventures.
This film is filmed in a stream of consciousness style, which immerses you in the setting and makes you feel like your part of the ride. The film is also shot in the style of someone holding a camera, capturing footage on the go. This style of film won’t be for everyone, but I loved the homegrown, organic flow and ambience of American Honey. The soundtrack is also incredible.
The performances are spectacular. Sasha Lane captivates, and holds your attention for the entirety of the nearly three hour runtime. Shia LaBeouf is in fine form in this film (both figuratively and literally), showing different sides to his character Jake. Riley Keough is also amazing as the bitchy, proud leader of the group Crystal.
What didn’t grab me was the story itself. I couldn’t relate to Star in a lot of aspects, and the characters, even though nuanced, aren’t very likable. I didn’t really care what happened to any of them, and that disappointed me.
Overall, I enjoyed American Honey, but was left wanting more. Even though I was left a little underwhelmed, I already have the desire to re-watch the film to pick up any details I may have missed and to try to form a connection to Star.
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