|Page 1 of 8:||       |
|Index||71 reviews in total|
American Honey follows a young woman as she embarks on a road trip of sorts with a bunch of hippies as they try to swindle their lives away in hopes of living in the purest of utopias. It is an indie film through and through. Everything from the story to the look reeks of an independent production which really intrigued me from the minute American Honey started. Despite this everlasting and enthralling feeling of watching pure art in the way of the indie eye as seen through director Andrea Arnold, I can't help but shake the feeling that this film could have been more. To start off, there really isn't anything terrible or bad about the film outside of its indulging and bloated running time of close to 3 hours. The acting is great, the cinematography is amazing, the soundtrack is arguably perfect and the story (while being paper thin) is acceptable. The biggest enemy the film has is itself. The editing is probably my biggest issue with the film because it ends up damaging the story through this overbearing and extremely indulgent pacing. At times, there are moments where the film is unrelenting. You can't wait to see what happens next. Then there are other moments that move so slow that you question whether or not to get up and stretch your legs. It ends up being a very frustrating film to watch because anyone can see that there is an undeniable masterpiece underneath the running time. A timeless story of youth and innocence is lost in a barrage of fire pit songs, drug fueled rage and useless character traits that end up being lost or muddled in, what felt like, an assembly cut of the film. Despite this, Andrea Arnold has a very keen eye and a natural ability to make her characters feel real even if the film is as boring as the average person. Whether or not this is what Andrea Arnold was going for, I have no idea. Overall, American Honey is a film that will most certainly test the patience of its audience but those who are fans of Arnold's Fish Tank, or just simply fans of character studies or coming of age stories, American Honey will certainly leave you feeling satisfied.
Who would believe that any of these trashy characters could even sell one magazine subscription, let alone enough to make a profit for themselves and their equally trashy supervisor ? If anyone looking like this raunchy crew even rang my bell, I would tell them I wasn't interested before I even knew what they wanted even if it was to sign a petition to endorse a candidate or issue I was in favor of. As someone pointed out early on, hardly anybody buys magazines anymore (and if they did they would buy it at a discount from an online site or a direct mailing, not at an inflated price from someone who looks like they crawled out from under a rock). Forget their stories, I can't imagine anyone would even open the doors for them. I assumed when they were talking about their "mission", they would at least clean up their act before attempting to approach their wealthy targets. In what fantasy do rich home owners invite grungy-looking adolescents into their home unless they know them ? Any other comment about this movie is unnecessary.
Much of Andrea Arnold's American HONEY reminds me of Larry Clark's 1995
film, "Kids," struggling adolescent years, but American HONEY is much
more nuanced in that on one hand you have this somewhat social
commentary about how we are the richest nation in the world and yet so
many of our teens live in poverty and they have to hustle and do
certain demeaning things just to get by, just to survive, just to feed
themselves. On the other hand, you could see American HONEY from the
perspective of the characters and the impressive way in which they
organize, you can see their selling and marketing skills, despite it
being a scam and rough around the edges. They're doing what wall street
does basically but on a smaller, smaller, way smaller scale.
Sasha Lane plays free spirited teenage named star who leaves her troubled trashy home to go on a road trip with traveling laborers her age, they go from town to town, door to door, to sell magazines. Riley Keough plays Krystal, the leader of the crew, and Shia LaBeouf plays Jake, who recruits new members. There's freedom and hard partying that come with this life, Star doesn't essentially agree with some of the group's methods, although young love and jealousy ultimately motivate Star to bend her own morality rule just to prove herself.
Firstly, just a heads up, this movie is 163 minutes long, probably not quite as long as those "Hobbit" movies but definitely one that you'd have to be willing to set aside a big chunk of your evening for, should you want to check out this film. I have to give credit to writer/director Andrea Arnold, not only for this raw depiction of American youth living on the margins, but also the casting decisions, the actors in this film are so convincing, in terms of their looks, their attitude and the way they carry themselves, you start to wonder if they really do live on the margins. Many of the moments in the film are spent on the characters bonding, so it seems that, and I'm assuming, cinematographer Robbie Ryan had to sit inside that van and operate the camera around as one character has their dialogue with another, and it's already crowded as it is, it'd be interesting to see behind-the-scenes video on how they pulled that off.
Arnold is not focusing on income disparity in the inner cities, nope, American HONEY showcases income disparity out in the plain fields of the American midwest. But this isn't some kind of poverty extravaganza either like "Winter's Bone," or "Slumdog Millionaire," the characters in American HONEY get by, they do OK one day at a time, but they undergo unforgiving journeys through suburban sprawl through small towns clearly affected by economic downturn, and you see the resilience in their hearts. You may disagree with their methods, some might even see it as dangerous but what can a fractured, abandoned life can do but to fill the cracks however way they can. They're still teenagers going through crushes and heartbreaks, your usual teenage ordeals, but they're also in a situation where they're forced to be independent adults faster, and Andrea Arnold beautifully captures all of that in American HONEY.
-- Rama's Screen --
Andrea Arnold's "American Honey" is a bold and ambitious film filled with good performances, and for the most part I like this film, but boy does it have a ton of pitfalls. "American Honey" is repetitive, bombastic, overlong, and filled with unlikable characters, and most of the repetitiveness comes from these characters constantly listening to and singing to rap music in their white van. Sitting through 2 hours and 43 minutes of this film felt more like a chore than a cinematic experience. I'm looking forward to what Andrea Arnold has in store for us next, I truly am, and hopefully her next film won't be as preposterously long as this.
This is the worst film I have seen in 50 years of movies going. It is filmed in an irritating shaky hand held camera style that is mostly out of focus. using close up techniques that are pointless, it has long repetitious scenes of passengers in a minibus. The dialogue is slurred and unintelligible. The movie seems unscripted. There are long tedious and repetitious scenes of passengers in a minibus, who, to combat boredom, sing along to the radio. This happens about 5 or 6 times throughout the movie. It was painful to watch and I was left with a feeling of being stuck in a 3- hour traffic jam with no AC, no phone, no water and bursting to use the toilet. How anybody could rate this tiresome self-consciously pretentious film above a 1 is a mystery.
Been anticipating this film ever since I've heard of it. This is a well
made coming of age film about hopeless youth who are on the go. The
film really reminded me of Kids but with stronger focus on its core
character and her experience. It also reminded me a bit of Spring
Breakers so maybe its a Harmony Korine thing. Sasha Lane stars as Star,
a young drifter on the run who stumbles across a gang of people who
travel in a van and are in "sales" and getting money where they can to
get by. You're immediately curious about Star's previous life and
experiences but you start in the moment and go on the road with her.
Sasha Lane is just starting and I'm curious as to what her story is
because this role was second nature to her. She's great. Love him or
hate him, Shia LaBeouf can be a force on the screen. He is most
certainly one in this film. There is a charismatic nature to his
character and his relationship with Star (through the rage and love) is
very entertaining to watch. I wish there was more of Riley Keough in
this. I'm a huge fan of her after seeing her in the very excellent The
Girlfriend Experience and she was the main attraction for me to this
film. I may be biased but she steals the scenes she's in. The
confederate bikini and oil rub scene in the motel room is fantastic.
The film has some other really beautiful scenes. Star and Jake sitting on top of the car as the wind blows and the bright lights pass by; its so wonderful. The stage is set in southern America and you get a real sense of that world on every pit-stop. Not all the character's in the gang are fleshed out in this near three hour film but its hardly a detriment as not many of them are necessarily memorable. The film is heavy on soundtrack which makes sense as you take a car trip through the eyes of Star as she goes from place to place. The scenes during the day always look like its almost sunset. I think it adds to the grittiness and roughness of the American South. The camera is mostly personal and very zoomed on Star so you get to see the world through her first hand experience. I saw a message of how tough it is to set your life straight in a hard world and having to do whatever it takes to get by on a day to day basis. I think at its heart Andrea Arnold's film can be interpreted in a few ways but I saw it as the story of a down out of luck girl who will do whatever it takes to survive. Star potentially puts herself in dangerous situations in the film but she's just fearless throughout. Which takes me back to the curiosity of her past. To me, she's unfazed with what she's exposed to and can adapt very well. Once she realizes she can make it there's a moment of beauty as she takes whatever comes her way. She's always setting animals (and other people) free in this film because she seeks to set herself free.
The first thing I'd recommend is not to be daunted by the running length of the film. Also be prepared for more of a visual, sonic, and spiritual experience over a film that's plot heavy and focused. I enjoyed it just as much as I thought I would.
A young girl, named Star, with no economic abilities, bears the heavy
responsibility of raising her two younger siblings.
Hungry after living the life of a teenager she gets attracted to a group of young people at a supermarket with high spirit and a bad attitude. She leaves her siblings behind and joins the group who lives from day to day selling magazines to whomever they meet. The common denominator is the selling of magazines. How to do it? How to manipulate the potential buyer with different kind of stories up the sleeve that is supposed to impose sympathy? As Oliver Twist is lured into Fagins lair and is taught to pick pockets without knowing what he is doing so is Star initially. At the point where she understands the rules and laws of the group, she is involved in such a way that she accepts the game and takes some very big risks and further compromises her own moral values.
The force of the movie is the depiction of the life on the road, the interaction between our marginalized young people and slowly getting to know our protagonist, who in the beginning is the silent observer and little by little starts to unfold her personality.
I can see that the movie is being criticized for being very long and not having a story that develops from a start- to an endpoint. I agree that some of the scenes are prolonged to a point that seems unnecessary. Besides this I think that this movie is a perfect example of how the truth often lies in the detail. This means that we need to dwell in some of the scenes and that the artistic challenge is to let this happen in a way that gets the audience involved.
Again I must express my deepest respect for director Andrea Arnold who has the rare ability to show a milieu in such a convincing way that it at certain points seems as if you are not watching a movie but instead a documentary but without loosing the storytelling.
Do not waste your time watching this totally meaningless film.
I thought with the high user reviews, and with Shia LaBeouf in it, it might be worth watching. I was wrong! This is one of the worse films I've seen in years. There's really no story to this movie. I kept waiting for something to happen, nothing ever did. While the acting and directing are OK, the script is extremely lame. Why make it two and half hours long?! It could either go on forever or have ended in the middle of the film, it would NOT have make any difference.
A total waste of time in my opinion. How it got nominations and won several awards jut confuse the hell out of me.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
What was the point of this film?
2 hours and 43 minutes of what... cramped van rides with degenerates and a bad iTunes playlist! Did the editing department forget to cut out the useless parts? No wait, then the film may only have been 30 minutes. But then again, I may have enjoyed those 30 minutes!
There is no building up to something... anything. There is no story here, no climax, no one to route for or against. Just a sad perspective of everyday reality that I can experience walking around the slums.
Shaky cam went out years ago. And what's with the idiotic 1980's tube-TV aspect ratio of 1.37:1?? I've seen better amateur video recordings on an iPhone along with the acceptable fit-in-my-TV- screen aspect ratio. It really was annoying.
Let's waste film on capturing flies on a car, for at least 10 seconds. Or peeing in a field. Or taking a bug out of a pool. Maybe there was a message, but I was struggling to keep my eyes open to notice it.
Sure, this was a very visual piece of work (hence my score of 2 instead of 1), but why did I have to suffer for all that time? The average National Geographic piece is only 60 minutes and does not cost 3.5 million to make! Seriously, where did all that budget go to? Not effects. Not cameras. Not sound/score. Not editing. Not vehicles. Not motels.
I am stunned by all the fake high ratings and praise for this film. Notice I did not once relate to it as a movie as it is not, it's a film, a video of someone with a cam that was bored and followed around a group of misfits around the country. That is all. Don't waste your time like I did.
Featuring a cast riddled with amateur actors (aside from Shia LaBeouf
and Riley Keough (granddaughter of Elvis Presley) "American Honey" is
more than just another Cannes Film Festival calling card for
writer/director Andrea Arnold, it is a gritty, startling master-class
example of "slice of life" direction, the likes of 2016's "Manchester
by the Sea" or "King Jack".
Synopsis: A teenage girl, living in extreme poverty, is recruited into a traveling sales crew filled with other teens in her same situation. The group travels cross-country, scamming people into buying magazine subscriptions by day and partying incredibly hard by night.
Arnold's hand-held camera work only helped immerse me into this lesser known subculture, watching these economically disadvantaged teens make sketchy life choices as they come of age inside a van sized commune of their peers. But it's the stellar performance from newcomer Sasha Lane which gives major credibility to this film and justifies some of its more minor flaws as well as the run-time. Much of the satisfaction I received from "American Honey" came from watching Lane's character evolve throughout.
Final Thought: There are a few misplaced lines of dialogue, which seem to force-feed a bit more than I would have liked, and at a nearly three hour run-time, this Indie will be perceived as an intimidating venture for some, but boy is it worth your time. The genuine atmosphere of "American Honey" speaks to this generation like not many movies do, and will stay with you for days after viewing.
|Page 1 of 8:||       |
|External reviews||Parents Guide||Official site|
|Plot keywords||Main details||Your user reviews|
|Your vote history|