The American dream is an amazing thing. People from all over the world have traveled here so that they can achieve it. That dream though for a lot of people who are already here is something far from a reality.
Star (Sasha Lane) lives in the south in a broken home. She takes care of two kids that are not related to her, while having unwanted advances put on her by the father of those kids. She gets a way out when she meets Jake (Shia LaBeouf), who is part of a group of young adults who travel selling magazines. Star at first refuses his offer to join them, but once back at home she realizes she needs to escape. She tracks down Jake, and is then introduced to Krystal (Riley Keough), who runs the crew. Star is hired and joins a group of kids just living life and trying to make some money. Star fits in well, but Jake is who she has her eyes on, as she is being trained for the job, her and Jake eventually take the relationship to the physical level. The road becomes a true experience for Star, where she learns about life and love and the American south.
Writer and director Andrea Arnold has created a beautiful road trip movie with a diverse cast of characters, all which add to her world. Arnold looked for unknowns to populate her movie, including her lead Sasha Lane, who she saw on a beach in Florida. Lane though feels far from a discovery, as she morphs in Star and wows you every time she is on screen. With most of the film being improvised, the movie has a natural feel to it, as in a window into these actors life. You live with them as you travel around the south in a van and spend your nights with them at their hotels. Arnold captures all the beauty around her, using the camera to tell the story more than words could.
“American Honey” is a beautiful film that lets you into a world many will never experience. Watching this movie was like going to an art gallery to me, as you are taken through different landscapes, taking in all around you. Art is not perfect, and like any this one is not without it’s flaws, but those are outweighed greatly, and this is a film that easily accepts the way it is. With a run time of just under three hours, “American Honey” will need your commitment to watch it. Once given though, let the film wash over you, and discover beauty you didn’t know was out there.