The One That Got Away

I completely forgot to write about “American Honey” which I liked a lot, even though it was not as accomplished of a film as “Manchester by the Sea”. Critics were divided on “American Honey”. I went to see it as soon as it opened (good move because it didn’t stay around for long). To see it, I had to go to one of my least favourite theatres, near a city corner that is mini Times Square, without the pizzazz. It does have a tawdry side so kind of goes with the movie.

“American Honey” is a road movie about a group of itinerant, disfranchised kids travelling across America in a van selling magazine subscriptions door-to-door. Pierced, tattooed (sans toit ni loi), the kids form a type of family, with a mother figure in their barely older boss, Krystal (Riley Keough, lean and mean). Star (Sasha Lane) sees this precarious existence as an escape from even worse life. She is both vulnerable and resilient. Shia LaBeouf plays the slimy and yet strangely charismatic top salesman of the group and Krystal’s right-hand man (reminds me of Burt Lancaster as Elmer Gantry, although not as beautiful as Lancaster).

The movie is messy, unstructured and loose. The soundtrack paints the preoccupations and dreams of the gang – from rap and hip hop (Choices (Yup) – “Everybody get choices/I choose to get money”), to pop (We found love in a hopeless place), country (American Honey) and Steve Earle and Bruce Springsteen (Bruce covering Suicide’s Dream Baby Dream). The kids sing along in a giant group catharsis.

This movie sticks in your mind.

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