Tuesday, March 27, 2018

American Honey: Reviews from the 2018 Curaçao Film Festival #CIFFR

Saturday, April 8th, 2017, 15:45

This one surprised me. As much as my interest was piqued by the trailer and the summary in the festival booklet, I didn't expect it to be quite so powerful. I think I imagined something of a period piece, a bit of The Breakfast Club meets a millennial's version of Kerouac's On the Road. And... well, yes, it is that. But it's so much more.

Before we get into the more, though, let me just say the 'period piece' bits have huge, huge value. For me, a solid Gen-X member, this film touched on some of the crucial aspects—aspects I had nowhere to even begin to understand—about the generation who graduated high school within the last five years. The sense of entitlement, for instance. Which extends into an appalling lack of respect for any form of authority. Yes, this is nothing new (Kerouac & Co., and every budding generation since), but these 'new' kids seem to be taking it to a whole new level, at least to this jaded 'old woman'. So a lot of the surprise aspect of this film was the insight into these young minds, and the empathy I felt growing as I accepted the invite to walk in their shoes.

And then there's the more. This film could have easily fallen into the Breakfast Club trap—probably would have, if made by a U.S. director, or a male director. Andrea Arnold (UK), however, turned this into not just a statement about the new generation but about the U.S.—and wealth inequality, and the role of women in society, and double standards (not just moral but economic), and capitalism, and how all of this contributes to the erosion of self-esteem.

Wow, huh?

AND THE MUSIC!!!!! The soundtrack of this film is brilliant. Granted, except for a couple of exceptions (Fade Into You, by Mazzy Star, is one of my all-time favorite songs), I knew none of the songs/performers, and, honestly, you probably won't find me listening to many of them by choice (like Kevin Gates, or something—someone?—called E-40, for instance... I'm sure they have their value, but I prefer my poetry delivered by means of less monotony... but I dare you to listen to The Raveonettes' Recharge & Reload, or Steve Earle's Copperhead Road [linked below], and not get road-trip fever). In the context of the film, however, the lineup works beautifully. The cinematography—camera direction, post-production, etc.—is a work of art that would hold its own anywhere-anyhow, but add the soundtrack and... BOOM.



  1. Hi Guilie - on your recommendation I'll probably see it - but can't quite get my head round it ... yet I'm older than you! Probably explains it ... I'm just glad you're getting so many great films to see ... the festival booklet sounds a really useful publication to have access to. Cheers Hilary

  2. While I sort of want to see this, I probably don't want to see it enough to actually get around to doing it.


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