Thursday, July 13, 2017

American Honey Movie Review

American Honey (2016)
Rent American Honey on Amazon Video
Written by: Andrea Arnold
Directed by: Andrea Arnold
Starring:   Sasha Lane, Shia LaBeouf, Riley Keough
Rating: R

My rating is simple, Watch It, It Depends, Skip it. Read my previous movie reviews!

Impoverished teen Star joins a traveling magazine sales crew. They cross the Midwest in a van as  the group of misfits parties hard and bends the law.

This is the very definition of an indie film, with a meandering plot that lets the story unfold instead of tying us to a destination. The amount of subtext is incredible. We see Star's experience one summer, but this business has created a lot of outrage due to under paying employees as the executives get rich. The movie doesn't even think about delving into that. We see Star trying to figure out life while juggling an infatuation with another salesman in a complicated relationship.
Watch it.

From shot framing to composition this feels like an indie film, and it's got a great vibe. Star stumbles upon a job opportunity selling magazines door to door. She isn't leaving much behind, a mom who's put Star in charge of her two younger sibling as the mom would rather be at the bar. The mom's boyfriend regularly harasses Star. It's a terrible situation and Star ditches it with little afterthought.

Star finds herself in a van with a bunch of rowdy teens as they travel city to city. She doesn't know what she's getting into, but cash money sounds good. Part of the draw for her is the enigmatic Jay (Shia LaBeouf). She likes him, but he has a stranger power dynamic with the boss, Crystal.
Jay begins training Star and the attraction is mutual. Of course this creates a weird triangle between Star, Crystal, and Jay. With Star Jay is carefree and fun. With Crystal Jay is subservient to a rather strange degree.

This has a slow pace, but it's not boring. It's a slice of life movie punctuated with moments of drama as it tackles fleeting teen love, longing and confusing. Star hasn't figured life out, she's living moment to moment. We get to see that. She never quite knows who to trust, and she is the main focus.
This isn't really about anything. It's about the ride.

Director Andrea Arnold cast a lot of kids off the street, shooting the movie with a handheld camera chronologically. Much of the dialog was improvised. Arnold was inspired to write the movie after reading about how kids are exploited to sell magazines, working a whole year and making no money while the companies employing them recorded massive profits. All of that is relegated to subtext. This is about a girl escaping one life for another that, while it isn't much better, it's a step up and a world of difference for her.

No comments :

Post a Comment

Blogger Widget