Logan’s review published on Letterboxd:
American Honey is a long, slow burn of a movie. It’s one of those things where it’s very experiential and naturalistic. It feels more like a vlog, but shot by Alfonso Cuaron. It’s a lengthy, down to earth ride that I didn’t always like, but certainly had some value in it.
The length is one issue, it’s 2hrs and 43 minutes, which is a long ass ride. I’ve seen several people in their reviews saying they never wanted it to end, but I disagree with that, I was constantly wanting it to end. There’s certainly some good parts, sections where it’s super engaging, but because it is a movie where that’s not super plot driven and a lot of it is just characters doin’ shit, sometimes I was pretty bored. However, it does achieve the feeling of naturalism for sure, it doesn’t feel scripted, which is a testament to the script and performances for disguising it so well.
Also, the characters are kinda mixed for me. Again, the general consensus seems to be the cast is lovable and you could follow them forever, which again I only semi-agree with. Yeah there’s slithers of fun, likeable characters, but they’re so broad and so background that you don’t really get any time with them really. The focus is on our protagonist Star, Shia LaBeouf as rat tail man and Krystal.
My problem with the primary characters isn’t the performances, cause they’re all great, it’s that the characters themselves aren’t super likeable to me. Like Krystal is just an asshole and a representation of an unempathetic, asshole boss, Jake is just a fuck boi and Star is also kinda an asshole, except she has a vauge sense of morals. But for the whole movie, she was just super unlikeable and her decisions and choices were off. I can agree with people saying they wanted the movie to be longer to see these characters more, except I wanted less scenes with Star and more with the other characters. The focus of the movie was weirdly the less interesting part for me.
It’s ideas and themes center around the American Dream and the exploitation and facades and power structures in place surrounding it. It’s a good thematic centerpiece, but I feel like I’ve seen the exact same ideas done in other films in more engaging, insightful ways that watching this did nothing for me really.
It’s also a gorgeous film visually. The landscapes, the use of natural lighting, the camerawork, it’s beautiful to look at which was able to hold my attention a bit when the story was boring me.
Also it’s got a fun soundtrack at times, which again, brings me in when the story won’t.
I just didn’t get a lot out of this movie, which I’m real sad about, I genuinely wanted to love it, I wanted to fall in love with it like others have on here. I know there is something there, it just did not work for me unfortunately
Watched as part of Film Club