American Honey

American Honey ★★★★★

This was a first time watch from the director Andrea Arnold and I was so blown away and will definitely be watching her other films.
One of the things I adored about this film was the writing of the characters. I can already tell by this film that Arnold is incredible at writing good female roles. Watching a character, Star, who is the same age as me really struck me to see how she is living her life in comparison.
I was also surprised to discover that this was Sasha Lane's first role as Arnold had discovered her on a beach and oh boy can she act.
I also feel like this is Shia LeBeouf's best performances I have ever seen him do.
One of the things I was sceptical about was the juxtaposition between the newcomer actors vs the established ones but it worked perfectly and was so effortless and I sometimes forgot Shia was who he was (if that makes sense) it really didn't show any Hollywood in this film, it was raw and everything worked perfectly.
The cinematography was stunning. Shot on the ratio 4:3, every shot was a work of art. I also loved the hand held camera movement as it almost felt like I was in that mini bus with them, making the whole film voyeuristic and very natural. Also despite the small aspect ratio I felt like the film felt very vast and big which was probably due to the amount of sky which has connotations of freedom and the American dream which is very important to the protagonist, Star.
I also loved the references to honey throughout the film and what it could represent and I have my thoughts. Honey is shown through the shots of bees and the bear. The fact that Star is constantly rescuing the bees could represent how she's almost trying to keep her sweetness or innocence as she is only 18. Whereas the bear could juxtapose this and may represent Jake as bears take honey or in this case Star's innocence.
I also liked the use of intertextual referencing such as through the use of Star Wars and The Wizard of Oz. I feel like in a lot of social realism films, such as Ken Loach's work, they tend to shy away from talking about films and other entertainment as it moves away from the reality of the film. I like the use of it in this film though as it shows the characters are dreamers (mainly Star.) it's not just about the reality and grittiness of the film but about the existential.
I also adored the soundtrack as it held real meaning to the film and almost reminded me of the Tiny Dancer scene in Cameron Crowe's Almost Famous.
Finally, I feel like the running time (163 minutes) may be what is stopping some people from seeing the film. I honestly didn't feel like it was a problem at all due to me being passionate about the characters and the world that they lived in. I actually planned on only watching half last night and the other half today but I couldn't turn it off it was so good! 5/5. Check it out!!!

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