Abdulla Alsaleh’s review published on Letterboxd:
Note: It’s been a while since I’ve seen this movie, but I’ve grown to like it a lot less since I first saw it. It feels like a stock indie movie that everyone swoons over because it’s “intimate”, which is actually just another word for having a 4:3 aspect ratio and leaving your tripod at home. It’s shallow, it’s dumb, and it’s been done so much better by so many filmmakers over the years. Because of all this, I’ve decided to preface this review written by a younger, far dumber me by saying that you should take this review with a grain of salt, since I don’t agree with a lot of what I’ve written here almost two years ago. If I ever decided to rewatch American Honey, I’d probably end up hating it, but for now, I’ll just stick with disliking it.
I don’t think that I’ve seen a more authentic portrayal of the trashier side of America than in American Honey. Every character and location feels real, and that level of authenticity became even more impressive to me when I found out that the movie was written and directed by a British woman. Usually, movies with this level of dedication to authenticity come from people who have lived in the same environments as the characters in their movies (Good Time is a great example of this), but seeing something that feels so real and personal come from somebody who grew up in a completely different environment from their characters was interesting. The raw nature of the movie is also shown through its exclusively handheld cinematography, although the 4:3 aspect ratio had no real reason to be there.
American Honey isn’t perfect, though. It overstays its welcome in some places, such as when characters are singing songs together in their bus for the 50th time without anything being done to progress the plot or the characters. I also didn’t buy the romantic subplot at all. I didn’t think that Shia and Lane had strong enough chemistry to warrant a romance to blossom between them. At times, the characters that Star tags along with can get really annoying, but that only happens once or twice, so I guess it’s not that big of an issue.
Edit: Never mind, just watch Gummo. Or anything else.