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American Honey

In her first American movie Andrea Arnold (RED ROAD, FISH TANK) follows a bunch of dirt-poor twentysomethings on a hypnotic and meandering road trip headed towards nowhere in particular.


”We found love in a hopeless place“ is heard from the supermarket speakers in a small American desert town. Jake (Shia LaBeouf) dances to it on the conveyer belt to impress Star (Sasha Lane). The move works and an intoxicating road movie across the US begins.
The search for love in a hopeless place is somewhat of a leitmotif in Andrea Arnold’s filmography. Whether it’s the suburban council flat in FISH TANK or the harsh environment in WUTHERING HEIGHTS – Rihanna and Calvin Harris’ song would fit there too. She also retells these stories from a female perspective.
This time, it’s the perspective of Star. When we meet the 18 year old she is just about to stop a car in order to get home with her two younger siblings. She isn’t successful but something else catches her attention: namely Jake. Jake notices Star when she follows him to the supermarket. He makes her an offer: she can earn a lot of money if she gets in the car and drives to Kansas City with him. The mix of curiosity and excitement appeals to her and so she drops off her siblings at her mother’s house with a heavy heart and gets in.
There’s a boisterous mood in the car. Rap and hip hop can be constantly heard on their trip to the Midwest. We observe the other characters and how they came together through Star's eyes. They are a part of a slacker gang who are constantly on the move selling newspaper subscriptions. Jake is at the wheel and drives Krystal (Riley Keough) who takes the troupe across the country. When Krystal first meets the confident young women she is hostile, especially because Jake has taken a special interest in her which could ruin the business.
From the British countryside to the American deam: Andrea Arnold doesn’t inform viewers much in the 2 and a half hour road trip. She is rather fascinated with observing the outsiders instead, like Larry Clark did with KIDS. The improvised dialogue of the amateur actors seem authentic and the film has an excellent soundtrack. Arnold’s partner Robbie Ryan (SLOW WEST) is in charge of the exhilarating cinematography, which is always very close to the characters with a precise eye for poetic details.
Protagonist Sasha Lane is a real discovery. Arnold found her on the street, like she does with many of her young actors. AMERICAN HONEY won the Jury Prize at Cannes and is a hypnotic trip to the heart of the US that captures the spirit of today’s youth.


Translation: Elinor Lewy


USA/Großbritannien 2016, 158 min
Genre: Tragicomedy
Director: Andrea Arnold
Author: Andrea Arnold
DOP: Robbie Ryan
Montage: Joe Bini
Distributor: Universal Pictures International Germany
Cast: Shia LaBeouf, Sasha Lane, McCaul Lombardi, Arielle Holmes
FSK: 12
Release: 13.10.2016


  • OV Original version
  • OmU Original with German subtitles
  • OmeU Original with English subtitles
English/with English subtitles
All languages

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