American Honey UK, USA 2016 – 163min.
17-year-old Star leads a tough life in the depths of Oklahoma. One day, as she’s standing on the side of the road, she meets the gaze of Jake, who is a van with his group of friends. Jake offers Star a job with his team, so she leaves her small town to crisscross America. Star becomes integrated into the group headed by the charismatic and authoritative Krystal, selling magazine subscriptions with them to door-to-door. It is the beginning of a road trip full of surprises, an incredible adventure.
If it were necessary to compare American Honey (Jury Prize at Cannes 2017) with another movie by Andrea Arnold, it would no doubt be 2009’s Fish Tank. Far from the coldness of Red Road and the classic piece Wuthering Heights, this road movie has a luminous energy and an irresistible heat. The director's staging process (special framing, first-time actress, natural light, obvious improvisation) gives this odyssey a strength that culminates in a handful of excellent scenes. Still, with a running time of 2 hours, 43 minutes and stakes that are a little vague, American Honey quickly runs out of gas, stretching out with no good reason. Charm has its limits, and Andrea Arnold relies on it too much to really satisfy.