American Honey

American Honey ★★★½

Andrea Arnold delivers a dazzling look at young American life within the margins in this coming of age road-trip movie. The cinematography is gorgeous, handheld and almost exclusively using natural or available light. Robbie Ryan’s work behind the lens is deserving of high praise.

Normally I avoid this type of film like the plague, but I was enamoured by the energy and vitality that Arnold managed to capture from a group of mostly non-professionals. I became interested in their lives, their personal stories, so much so that the presence of the likes of Shia LaBeouf and Riley Keough mostly served as distractions. I was almost begging for Arnold to forget the cliched love triangle at the centre of the film and give me more of that door-to-door magazine sales game, or more interactions with the rest of the crew.

I really enjoyed American Honey, but it didn’t quite achieve the same result for me as Sean Baker’s work on Tangerine or The Florida Project. It’s a film that I’d be happy to watch again and again, but would have preferred that this American Honey had left love on the side of the road and explored the warts-and-all humanity of marginalised life in a little more detail.

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