This weekend, the ASUNM Southwest Film Center will be screening “American Honey,” directed by Andrea Arnold, who adapted and directed the 2011 adaptation “Wuthering Heights”. “American Honey” is the fourth feature-length film for Arnold, who is known for her unique style of directing.
The film stars Sasha Lane as Star, a free-spirited young woman who is a nanny for two kids in eastern Oklahoma, Riley Keough as Krystal, the leader/manager of a traveling door-to-door magazine sales troupe and Shia LaBeouf as Jack, a roguish veteran salesman in the troupe.
The film begins with Star taking care of the children with their perverted father. When hitchhiking home she meets Jack and his troupe making their way to Kansas to sell their magazines. Initially reluctant, Star takes up on Jack’s offer to join them in their journey and, after dropping off the children with their neglectful mother, joins them the local motel where she begins working the next day.
Through the course of the nearly three-hour film, Star finds herself running with a crowd of party-goers, charlatans and thieves. Star discovers Jack’s true nature, struggles with making sales and ends up lying and cheating her way to higher sales after tensions rise between her, Jack and Krystal that lead to mistrust and conflict between the three.
The film has received mostly positive reviews, with critics praising Arnold’s eye for unique presentation, melancholy tone and tension. The only prominent disdain for the film is its nearly three-hour length which, like any long film, seems to drag at points but ultimately lends to its tense and melancholy tone.
“American Honey” is a film for cinephiles and those who enjoy artistic films that present a unique slice-of-life perspective on the often-forgotten parts of society and the world. Lengthy but well-crafted, “American Honey” is a evening’s commitment, but one that is sure to be well worth it for those who go to watch it.
Fin Martinez is the culture editor for the Daily Lobo. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @FinMartinez.