On Andrea Arnold’s raw, intoxicating portrayal of modern day youth in American Honey.
“Do you have any dreams?”
Millennials. Obnoxious or eccentric? Arrogant or free-spirited? I should probably know, I’m one of them, but there are days I don’t feel like I understand my generation at all. I’ve partied. I drink. I’ve dabbled in other stuff – but I’ve always stopped short of doing anything too wild. Most of my best drunken stories draw from pretty lowkey hijinks and misdemeanours. I’ve always tended to avoid the really hardcore crowd.
Which is why I was so shocked by how much I related to the characters in American Honey. At first glance, they appeared to be the same shallow, mean-spirited kinda people I kept at arm’s length while at uni. I never thought I’d buy into a ‘friendship’ that involved beating each other to a pulp while being egged on by the rest of your mates. But buy into it I did. Thanks to Andrea Arnold, what could’ve been a shallow, unpleasant three-hour-long slog ended up being a captivating and unflinching exploration of the raw energy, animalistic rage and boundless potential of modern day youth.
There’s no judgement here. No glorification either. Arnold is merely a documentarian of youth in revolt. Whether it resonates with you depends on the viewer, but it’s presented in a way that’s certainly worth your time. This 163-minute-long odyssey is less of a film than it is an experience (much to Max Landis’ chagrin, I’m sure). It thrives on that fact, meticulously painting a picture that captures America in all its diverse and diametric glory. The time you spend with these characters is essential in forming that unlikely attachment to them. The music is rapturous. The colours are enchanting. And the journey itself is one hell of a ride.
If you’d like a more eloquent summary of my thoughts on this movie, please check out my good pal staypuffed‘s phenomenal little write-up. It says far more than I ever could here.