American Honey Movie Review
Gorgeously shot and oddly alluring, American Honey is a sprawling drama about an aimless teenage girl who travels around the country with a magazine sales crew—a plot not akin to great drama, admittedly, but one that serves as a proper framework to tell a different kind of coming-of-age story.
Written and directed by Andrea Arnold, American Honey is a nearly three hour movie that in many ways lacks focus or purpose—in other words, it’s the exact kind of movie I normally wouldn’t like. And yet, Arnold draws you into the world of 18-year-old Star (Sasha Lane) in the first minute, inviting you to follow her journey of self-discovery without any other knowledge of where the film will go or what will happen.
Lane delivers a fine performance as the protagonist, a girl whose willingness to go where the wind takes her often puts her in compromising situations, the risks sometimes paying off, sometimes not. Shia LaBeouf is also solid in a supporting role, playing a rather unique and equally unpredictable character that seems to suit him better than the mainstream roles he used to get.
American Honey isn’t perfect—Star’s actions are often frustrating and never fully explained, and Arnold’s loose, fluid storytelling approach means the movie meanders and ultimately ends without real closure or purpose—but there’s something about it that makes it intoxicating. Whether it’s Lane’s screen presence, the beautiful cinematography or the story that keeps you unsure of where it’s all going, American Honey holds your attention until the closing credits.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.