American Honey

American Honey ★★★★½

I miss those days
As the years go by
Nothin' sweeter than summertime
And American honey
And American honey

American Honey's title pretty much sums up what it is about. You know, in my country we have these baked sweets we call "pastel". We also use "pastel" as an adjective for movies mostly focused on human drama and relationships. American Honey is a complete pastel. An american pastel, so sweetened in its drama and conflicts, full of honey, really. The most tasteful pastel.

It could go on to become distasteful, though, sometimes. A film that follows some problematic youth in a road trip through American would obviously be bound to get nasty at some point. They are all white trash, indeed. None of them particularly smart. Three times during the film I'm sure that they are metaphorically compared to cattle, transported mercilessly to fulfill a purpose that is not their own. And yet, there's a goodness to all of them. None of them seem bad people. Just kids dropped in a sad world.

The 2h45 runtime serves the clear purpose of humanizing them, of telling their fictional story, that might aswell be someone's true story out there. Riding on the back of a fierce heroine, Star, played beautifully by newcomer Sasha Lane, whose face and attitude could've been the inspiration for just about any song by Rihanna. Speaking of Rihanna, had they played We Found Love a third time and I would've started to sing along. All the film lacks is Riley Keough pole dancing to the sound of Kiss it Better, really.

Oh, and Riley Keough. The whitest and trashiest white trash I've ever seen. I could watch that american honey playing Krystal until the end of the time. And the thing is... she's an outstanding actress. Krystal is vile, arrogant, the most opportunist skank, and you're there not knowing whether to admire her for standing so much for her unfair ideals, or to simply hate her for being so mean and not even seeing it. Either way, Keough steals the show everytime she appears, which probably accounts for some fifteen minutes of screentime. Some of the most beautiful I've seen at the movies this year.

Reducing American Honey to its villain would be to dismiss the whole point of the film, which I've already hailed. I had never seen a film by Andrea Arnold. Evaluating from this, the realness and the feelingness of it all, allied to an explosive soundtrack, some of the most beautiful cinematography to have graced the screen in 2016 - shot on an emotion-filled 4:3 AR - and some outstanding work by its two main actresses, makes me believe there might be more to Arnold's career, past and future, that I'm super up to discovering.

As for this one... Pretty sweet. A true cultural landmark. Could've lasted three more hours, I wouldn't have bothered.

Watched in LEFFest 2016.

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