American Honey: What You Need To Know
One of the films doing the rounds during awards season this year with wins at the British Independent Film Awards and at Cannes, as well as a BAFTA nomination, American Honey is a gritty but heart-swelling coming-of-age film for the 21st century and includes some outstanding performances from its ensemble cast.
With the film now available to buy in-store and online (you can find the link on the right-hnd side of this page), here's everything you need to know...
Who’s in it?
Shia Lebeouf and newcomer Sasha Lane lead the cast, the latter having picked up a Best Actress award at the British Independent Film Awards for her role in the film, while the rest of the cast includes more relative newcomers in McCaul Lombardi and Arielle Holmes, as well as Riley Keough, star of The Girlfriend Experience and granddaughter of none other than the king of rock ‘n’roll himself, Elvis Presley.
And who’s directing?
Despite the film’s title, American Honey is written and directed by British actress-turned-director Andrea Arnold, whose previous credits include 2009’s Fishtank and a 2011 adaptation of Wuthering Heights, and whose work on this movie put her among this year’s BAFTA nominees for Outstanding British Film.
What’s the plot?
Sasha Lane plays a teenager named Star, stuck in her hometown of Muskogee, Oklahoma helping to care for two young children and struggling to cope with the advances of their abusive father.
After meeting a group of teenagers and catching the eye of Jake (Lebeouf), she decides she’s had enough of her life in Muskogee, leaves the children with their absentee mother and skips town to work with Jake and his friends as part of a travelling magazine sales team, hoping to make some money and make some new friends.
But she soon finds herself caught up in a whirlwhind of hard partying, shady dealings and criminal activity that finds Star and her friends riding a wave of danger.
Does it deliver?
Arnold has pulled of quite a feat with American Honey, drawing some exceptional performances from its cast, particularly relatively inexperienced ones such as Sasha Lane, who looks set for big things. There’s a beautifully hazy vibe to the film that makes the whole story feel like a kind of modern-day version of Jack Kerouac’s On the Road, and just like in Kerouac’s famous novel, American Honey is less about the destination than it is about the journey.
It’s gritty in places and it’s not exactly what you would describe as a feel-good film, but there’s a level of optimism and hope that makes it hard to resist. This could be a real breakout moment for the director and the film’s cast and if you enjoy the work of directors like Richard Linklater then this is highly recommended viewing.