British filmmaker Andrea Arnold follows her acclaimed arthouse hits Fish Tank and Wuthering Heights with a road trip across the American West. It's stunningly photographed by Robbie Ryan with a vivid sense of light, skin and expansive landscapes. And it's acted with an offhanded honesty by its young cast. But there's no real plot to speak of, and as the film unfolds over nearly three hours, it becomes naggingly clear that there isn't much of a point.
It centres on Star (Sasha Lane), an 18-year-old from Texas who is fed up with her miserable life caring for her younger siblings while her mother parties in local bars and her boyfriend acts like a caveman. So she runs off and joins the present-day equivalent of the circus: a travelling group of hard-partying teens selling magazines door-to-door. Their jaded leader Krystal (Riley Keough) doesn't care about the alcohol, sex and drugs as long as she's making money. And as Star settles in, she develops a crush on Jake (Shia LaBeouf), the guy training her on the job. As they move from town to town, Star has a series of small adventures that turn nasty, and could go much worse at any moment.
This potential danger is the only real tension in the film, although Star is oblivious to the fact that she continually puts herself in perilous situations. She learns nothing through all of these experiences, which is very frustrating for a movie audience to watch. This is a very simple young woman whose only dream is to get a trailer of her own and fill it with babies. Like all of these kids, she is living for the moment without any sense of responsibility or direction. This is a knowing comment on a generation raised in the longest recession in human history, but it leaves the movie feeling like it's spinning its wheels.
Continue reading: American Honey Review
Star is fed up with her current way of life; she's a teenager with her whole life ahead of her and no prospects coming her way in her current hometown. Setting out on the road, Star begins to have ideas about hitchhiking away from her troubled life and is approached by Jake, a carefree guy who travels state to state selling magazine subscriptions.
Jake isn't alone, he journeys with a team of fellow youth whom are part of a 'mag crew', who like Star, are running away from home for one reason or another. Jake tells Star about the crew and what they do; he tells her how the crew go door to door selling magazines whilst also exploring America and partying at night. This 'a business opportunity' is too good for Star to resist.
Speaking with Krystal, the only proviso for joining the crew seems to be that if she has no one to miss her, she's good to join. Life on the road begins as Jake explained, the small gang sells hard during the day and drink and party just as hard at night.
Continue: American Honey Trailer