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Logline: Star, an eighteen year old girl, joins a band of misfits, as they journey through the Midwest selling magazines.

British filmmaker Andrea Arnold’s American Honey is stunning.  A coming of age and road movie of sorts, Arnold uses an ultra-realistic fly-on-the-wall style that plunges the viewer into the world of the film.  Newcomer Sasha Lane is simply fantastic as Star.

The film was shot in the square 4:3 aspect ratio but it seems to complement the film beautifully.  Visually stunning and tactile, the film is a truly immersive experience.  It is a raw style of filmmaking that feels incredibly fresh.  The film’s soundtrack is a blend of hip-hop, country, and pop tunes that elicits the film’s infectious energy.

The performances are all terrific.  Shia Labeouf leads a cast of talented unknowns and he is extraordinary as Jake, a charismatic hustler who invites Star to join his team.  He and Lane have excellent chemistry and their relationship is completely believable.

Despite its near three-hour runtime, American Honey is riveting.  The film offers a rare glimpse into the lives of hard-partying, disillusioned youth as they road trip across the American Midwest.  American Honey is a gem and one of the best films of the year.

Rating (out of ****): ****

 

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