ZombieTrex’s review published on Letterboxd:
American Honey reminds me of another 2016 movie with a similar premise: Captain Fantastic. Both provide social commentary on the current state of America. Thankfully, unlike Captain Fantastic, this movie presents it’s themes and criticisms in an actually subtle way. Captain Fantastic just had the characters blatantly complain about real world issues (I get that that was “the point”, it was still obnoxious, and I didn’t like it). American Honey still mocks things like capitalism and religion, but it never feels like it gets in the way of the story, and I like that about it. There aren’t a bunch of cartoonish caricatures that the characters interact with and make fun of, all of the people feel like real people, but still displaying what’s wrong with the world. This film does a great job of showing the problems with America, without beating you over the head with its point.
Unfortunately, unlike Captain Fantastic, this movie is quite boring. It is so utterly repetitive and tiring. The story just repeats itself over and over again; the gang drives out to a town, Star and Shia get into some hijinks trying to sell something, they pack up, they leave, repeat. Maybe I’d be more ok with this repetitive story structure if the movie wasn’t almost THREE HOURS LONG. I was so ready for it to end, but it just keeps going. At least Captain Fantastic had compelling enough characters (and was only 2 hours), whereas the characters here just aren’t that interesting to follow. The movie just sorta ends out of nowhere, no build up or anything. It’s just not enjoyable to sit through.
I know I keep comparing this film to Captain Fantastic, but I just kept thinking about that film while watching this, and I feel comparing the two helps get my point across. I’ve been debating which of the two is worse. After much deliberation, I think this film is worse. I still don’t like Captain Fantastic, but at least it had a good ending, and I could enjoy it more. I don’t think I ever want to see American Honey again. Again, I do think it is successful in its condemnation of modern day, but it has so little besides that.