matthewpchen’s review published on Letterboxd:
It took me a while to get to this because of the 2 hours and 43-minute runtime so it sucks to say I didn't like it. I'm usually a fan of slice-of-life/coming-of-age films, but it was hard to tell an interesting story when the characters aren't engaging. I didn't feel very invested in the story and the characters causing the movie to drag, but I enjoyed the vibe of the movie and I understand the ideas this was trying to tell. I think it could tell a great story about escaping from a shitty environment, poverty, and growing up, but if the characters were more compelling, it would work much better.
With the main character, every time she makes a terrible decision furthermore making her unlikeable, it was the appeal of the movie that drew me back in. Sasha Lane and Shia LaBeouf give great performances but I didn't like their characters or their chemistry together. It's not a poke at the film itself because it adds to the realistic approach to telling this, but it was hard to care about them when they were unappealing characters. Riley Keough is also great in this.
I thought the look of the movie was beautiful and the raw tone with the aspect ratio fits the movie perfectly. The soundtrack is pretty great and works well in the style of the story even if I didn't like every song they played. This movie didn't entirely work for me, but I'm still interested in what Andrea Arnold will put out next.