American Honey

American Honey ★★★★

A24 Ranked

American Honey isn't your traditional coming-of-age film and that's excellent. For the first half-hour of the film, I was wondering if it was working for me, and the 163-minute runtime worried me beforehand that I would lose interest gradually, and you do feel the length. And yet I was completely engrossed. I was trying to pinpoint why I was deeply invested in American Honey, whether it was A24's involvement or how organic the scenery and the characters felt or just how amazing Andrea Arnold's direction is. I cared about where the film's protagonist Star (Sasha Lane) went and I was genuinely hoping she was okay. The cinematography feels extremely naturalistic to the point that American Honey feels like a docudrama, and I got invested in the film's setting to the point that I didn't want it all to end. This is a beautifully written and directed meditation on the American Dream, life on the road and the disconnected youth subculture.

The central performances are what sold my interest in American Honey. Sasha Lane's acting is full of uncertainty, self-discovery, and wonder, and she effectively embodies her main role with grace and subtlety. I haven't been the biggest fan of Shia LaBeouf, but here, he slips into a role that feels natural for him and it's both wild and charming. American Honey is especially strong when it focuses on the chemistry between Lane and LaBeouf, and the complicated dynamics that their characters have with each other. And while the supporting performances deserve a lot of praise for feeling organic, Riley Keough stands out in a harsh, dominating role, making the most out of her screentime and proving that she's one of our generation's most underrated actresses to date. As much as I loved how the setting, style and character study were presented, American Honey's script isn't perfect, since there's a few too many underdeveloped supporting characters, and you really need to invest yourself in the film's lengthy runtime to get onboard with its narrative. I was also hoping for more of an emotional connection with American Honey yet I definitely felt its gritty realism. Otherwise, American Honey won't be for everyone but it asks sobering questions about the state of America and our youth, while providing a captivating character study, and it ended up becoming a cinematic journey that I never wanted to leave. What a beautiful experience.

Story and Characters (7/10)
Presentation and Direction (8/10)
Acting (9/10)
Script (8/10)
Setting/Locations (10/10)
Tone (8/10)
Cinematography/Visuals (9/10)
Sound/Music (9/10)
Editing (8/10)
Pacing/Length (8/10)

Score: 84/100.

Block or Report

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