Jack’s review published on Letterboxd:
The American dream is collapsing. We are currently in a pandemic. There is a rising employment rate. The government does not give a shit about the middle/lower class. We are currently living in a state where our lives aren't being lived to the fullest. Why am I writing about this? Well, this is where the plot of American Honey comes to play.
We open the film with a young poor woman with two kids looking for food in a dumpster. Her life is shit and the situation she was put into was shit. The only way to escape is to follow a couple of drifters to Kansas City selling magazines. From there, we experience a euphoric trip across America.
One of the main themes of this film is the idea of living your life to the fullest. Like I mentioned before, Sasha Lane's character escapes from an abusive and overall boring life. She decides to sell newspapers with Shia Labouf's character in order to feel some type of new meaning in her life. Unfortunately, it ends in heartbreak and a sense of brokenness in the world. There's multiple scenes where Sasha Lane's character tries to sell magazines but, they all lead up with following people's mundane lives. The truck driver scene perfectly showcases how our main character is struggling to understand the meaning of life. A lot of people like the truck driver are just living you know.
Now on a personal level, I've dealt through broken, meaningless relationships. When this movie came out, I just got out of a friendship that felt meaningful but, with time and thought, felt sad and meaningless. A matter of fact, I remember sharing one last conversation with this person before smoking a joint and playing this film on my crusty laptop. From there, this film took my whole relationship and put it on screen. If that makes any sense.
Andrea Arnold perfectly portrays empoverished life through documentarian cinematography, 4:3 Instagram aspect ratio (seen in films like Mommy and Waves) and then use of handheld.
Yeah, this is a fucking masterpiece. Poetic cinema shit.