George Clark’s review published on Letterboxd:
2016 Releases Ranked-HERE
American Honey is a 2016 road drama film written and directed by Andrea Arnold and starring Sasha Lane, Shia LaBeouf and Riley Keough. The film follows Star, played by Sasha Lane, as she runs away from home and joins a traveling sales crew who drive across America selling magazine subscriptions door to door. The film holds a certified fresh score of 79% on Rotten Tomatoes and is an A24 film.
For this weeks Film Club pick Jack decided to pick American Honey. I’ve been recommended this film countless times so it was the perfect film for him to choose as for this film, like many others, I went in completely blind and had no idea what it was about. So here’s my thoughts:
I quite liked this film at times, it’s certainly no masterpiece for me as if I’m honest I didn’t exactly connect with the story as much as I wanted too but the heart of the film was there. Sasha Lane is great and performs really well alongside Shia LaBeouf who also gives a great performance in this film. American Honey is shot in a 4:3 aspect ratio and this works perfectly in the film. It makes it seem different to other films and this drew me more and more into the film as I felt like it was real.
Whilst the aspect ratio works really well, it does feel incredibly long. At 2 hours 43 minutes it does feel way too long which is sad as they could have cut about 30 minutes off and it would have worked a lot better. Along with that’s another problem that I have is that this film has no score and has an excessive use of drugs (that work well in the film, just I wasn’t a fan of it). I get that Andrea Arnold has done this to make you feel more immersed in the film and make then soundtrack more important but when a film has no score, it takes away something special from it. A score gives a film a sense of heart and whilst the story does often have great moments, without a score it doesn’t connect as much as I would want it too.
There isn’t much to say about this film, of course I have some problems with it and in general it was a bit lack lustre for me but I respect the work Andrea Arnold put into it, the cinematography was great and the camera work was incredible. For a film made on $3.5 million they definitely utilised the money to its full extent. The film is stunning to watch but tedious at times with its long runtime and no score sadly acting as the films major downfall for me.
However, with the downfalls there are also some good moments. American Honey’s best moments for me is when it feels real. It shows the real side to many people, the side that money is the only thing that matters and the dreams that people have very rarely come true. While some points in the film didn’t work for me, the way these points are depicted throughout really works wonders and made me think about what I would want on that scenario.
American Honey is weird, wonderful, ridiculous and seems so real in society that’s it’s hard not to be slightly engrossed in it. Sadly the film didn’t quite connect with me as much as I wanted it too but that’s about personal preference and not a negative for the film as I can see why many people will connect with it. I might not love this film but I respect what it is and in all honesty, it did get better as time went on but ultimately I was left slightly disappointed by it but I can see why people love it. Maybe a rewatch one day will change my mind 🤷♂️.
What’s your thoughts on American Honey? Are you one of the people that think it’s a masterpiece or were you left slightly disappointed with all the hype?