American Honey

American Honey ★★★★★

Andrea Arnold is one of the best living filmmakers. I don't care if you disagree.

I kept putting off American Honey because of its 2 hour and 43 minute running time, and also maybe to savor the knowledge that there was another Andrea Arnold movie I hadn't watched yet. But today, waking in a daze and not knowing what on Earth I could manage to do with the day, I rolled over and started it from Netflix.

The movie starts with a bang and never lets up, as we meet our lead character who lives in very dire circumstances. One scene toward the beginning hearkens back to one of her early shorts, Wasp. She certainly has auteur qualities.

Shia LeBouef, whose name I may never spell correctly, appears with his gang of misfit grifters and seduces our lead with the image of a kind of freedom she may have never even imagined possible. There is so much that Arnold does without dialogue, not putting clumsy words in her actors' mouths unnecessarily, which maintains a sense of emotional realism, often nurturing a feeling of fear and uncertainty. She does this throughout the film. I was almost constantly worried for the main character's health, safety... even life.

Riley Keough, daughter of Lisa Marie Presley as I recently learned, plays a very formidable character in the movie. Frightening, really. I have nothing but high praise for her performance.

And that's all I have for the writer/director, as well. She is truly one of the best.

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