Shia LaBoeuf at the TIFF premiere of Man Down

American Honey

American Honey is a tale in which its ironically sweet, innocent title haunts its tragic lead in Star (Sasha Lane), however it is through these contradictions that the film flourishes. We meet our heroine in a Walmart car park whereupon she stumbles upon the clan of misfits selling door to door magazines. Jake (Shia LaBeouf) entices her with the promise of a new life; one of freedom and exploration. She soon enough runs away with them, following this new ‘Americana’ version of the classical American dream.

Star discovers the life which these misfits lead, recounting extensive lies to guilt trip-people into buying the magazines which no one ever wants. It is viewed as a game, as the cruel reality that people do not care about them or their pain is too much to handle so they focus on making their money and their claimed freedom. Throughout, there are these threats of hard hitting truths about social inequality, which follow these doomed youths across their wild road trip. It is gritty in its portrayal of not only sexual abuse but the hypocrisy of American society to shut doors on all they dislike.

Alongside this there is beauty, not only in the continuously kind nature of Star but also in the young reckless love story between Star and Jake. One that is messy, however honest in its passion and power over the two who have found love and loyalty to be something hollow. Cinematographer, Robbie Ryan brings out a rawness in the tale, allowing it a kind of genuine quality which only enhances the iridescence of the film.

American Honey itself is young in its wild and chaotic nature, throwing constant questions at the audience to which there are few answers. The film carries a hard punch in its take on the classic coming of age story yet there is a roughness and violence to this film which leaves a larger impression than expected.  Expect from this film a savage confrontation on not only pre-conceived assumptions but also accepted truths.

Image: Tabercil; Flickr,com

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