If a breakout indie doesn’t split critics right down the middle at Cannes Film Festival, is it really a breakout indie?
Earlier this year, one film that proved polarizing among critics on the Croisette was American Honey, the runaway drama hailing from Wuthering Heights and Fish Tank director Andrea Arnold. It features Sasha Lane as Star, a hopeful adolescent girl from a troubled background who one day decides enough is enough, breaking out of her shell for a life in the American Midwest.
Also starring Shia LaBeouf and Riley Keough of The Girlfriend Experience, today’s trailer is beautifully shot, set against Bruce Springsteen’s “Dream Baby Dream.” American Honey also nabbed the coveted Jury Prize at Cannes, so imagine our disappointment, then, when we found the finished product to be less than stellar.
Here’s an extract pulled from our review: “American Honey wants to be a gritty slice of American life and a fantastical mood piece. It’s an odd mix of hand held camerawork and highly saturated colors, of verité-style editing and impressionistic montages. The film lands in a chasm between the two: it’s too sensationalized to be realistic and too bogged down by its grittiness to be otherworldly.”
A24 will roll out American Honey via limited release on September 30.
Star (Sasha Lane), an adolescent girl from a troubled home, runs away with a traveling sales crew who drive across the American Midwest selling subscriptions door to door. Finding her feet in this gang of teenagers, one of whom is Jake (Shia LaBeouf), she soon gets into the group’s lifestyle of hard-partying nights, law-bending days, and young love.