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PostPosted: Tue Jun 21, 2016 2:19 pm 
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Andrea Arnold's American Honey


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 Post subject: Re: The Films of 2016
PostPosted: Fri Sep 30, 2016 7:45 am 

Joined: Tue Oct 27, 2015 6:14 am
Has anyone managed to see American Honey? It doesn't come out here until November, but it might be my most anticipated film this year. Reviews only seem to get better than the reception at Cannes


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 Post subject: Re: The Films of 2016
PostPosted: Fri Sep 30, 2016 8:07 am 
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Andrea Arnold is a terrific film-maker. Seems all our most interesting directors are women at the moment.


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 Post subject: Re: The Films of 2016
PostPosted: Fri Sep 30, 2016 9:16 am 

Joined: Tue Oct 27, 2015 6:14 am
1. I agree
2. I have to disagree. Have you seen the film? As a big fan of her, road movies, America and coming of age films my instinct is to love this, and the trailer did a fantastic job of making me want to watch. I'm just worried about its length. But it's great to hear it getting rave reviews. Is A24 going wide with it stateside?


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 30, 2016 10:15 am 
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Haven't seen it yet. BFI are showing it next week, I think.

I suspect A24 will open it narrow this week and look to build depending on the numbers. I think they're looking nationwide though.

I had similar concerns about the length, but the reviews have assuaged them somewhat.

'All' was an exaggeration, but with the likes of Andrea Arnold, Carol Morley, Joanna Hogg, Malika Zouhali-Worrall, Clio Barnard, Lynne Ramsay, Debbie Tucker Green, &c. we have tremendous female talent behind the cameras right now.


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 30, 2016 12:49 pm 
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I look forward to seeing it, even though it'll surely reignite my feeling that Arnold should've directed a proper adaptation of The Girl on the Train, which is also incidentally coming out next month. Would've been such a perfect fit for that material.


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 30, 2016 7:30 pm 
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I saw it in Paris at their satellite Cannes event. I think it's fantastic and am really looking forward to being able to see it again in the next week or so. I will readily admit it is WAY overlong, and I'm a little surprised it wasn't cut back after screening in Cannes. However, the film is such an end-to-end aesthetic delight for me, and I loved watching Shia LaBeouf be as unassuming, charming and low-key funny as possible. I thoroughly enjoyed the soundtrack and the road trip feel to the movie as a whole (perhaps one argument in favor of the extended duration and repetitive nature of the film).


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 21, 2016 1:22 pm 

Joined: Tue Oct 27, 2015 6:14 am
Having just watched this, I think might be Arnold's best film, even though Wuthering Heights unseen I love everything she made. I will admit the film basically ticks off every theme I adore, road movie, coming of age, America and more specifically poor middle America. It is also brilliant and Robbie Ryan continues to be one of the standout cinematographers working today. It is a bit overlong but didn't really feel too long for me, I could have taken a few more hours with any trouble. I'll probably rewatch Fish Tank and finally watch Heights now, but I doubt anything will beat this.
Ill write more once not on my phone, but I found Arnold's focus on the wildlife added a lot to the film, while having most the crew members actual runaway kids made each one of them distinct even though barely any of them get any important or relevant dialogue and part in the film.
And is this the first time that everything that is shown in a trailer (every scene and music) appears in the finished product? It was great hearing the two songs from the trailer in the film itself.


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 08, 2017 4:25 pm 
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Surprised this thread doesn't have more traffic. I though American Honey was excellent, the largely nonprofessional cast doing a surprisingly good job. As in Fish Tank, Arnold is interested in characters living at the margins, but she doesn't over-romanticize them.
[Reveal] Spoiler:
Sasha Lane is terrific as Star. The frequent close-ups of her face as she observes the van full of outsiders leave me continually intrigued as to what she's thinking. This emphasizes that she's not precisely one of them; it always takes her a moment longer to join in the singing, to respond to songs or chants in the manner expected. She's also equal parts worldly and naive, someone full of potential spoiled by growing up in a shitty situation and fleeing it to one only marginally (there's that word again) better.


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PostPosted: Sun May 14, 2017 3:50 am 
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When I think about American Honey, my teeth hurt. I don't know why it's my teeth. Is it because of its confectionary nature, largely existing from a narrative perspective as a reason to see brightly colored clothing on shiny, young, beautiful people as they shimmer about in the sunlight? Is it because half of the runtime is spent clenching them, wondering if Our Heroine will make her way out of any number of circumstantial dangers and back into the womb of the van?

I would like to posit a third theory, straight out of The X-Files. My teeth hurt because Andrea Arnold is an alien. My fillings are warning me about activity nearby - magnetic forces that we couldn't possibly imagine, repeatedly dropping her onto our planet with a camera, with the sole purpose of allowing us to see it from an outsider's perspective. To see the bugs floating in the air. To see the tape languishing on the refrigerator. To see the tears hanging from the eyes. Arnold is as in command of her frame as any filmmaker working today, so much so that her empathy for her subjects merely serves to boggle my mind as I wonder how anyone manages to wring so much incredible imagery out of the mundane. Anyone can do it with an Instagram snap or a minute or two of footage, but Arnold can't conceive of a moment in time that isn't worth viewing in an entirely new and exciting way. She is a treasure, and this is yet another masterpiece in an impossibly jam-packed 2016.


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 23, 2017 9:56 pm 
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Location: Lawrence, KS, U.S.
I'm really surprised at how much I liked this film given my response to Arnold's previous films and my fear that she'd exploit the environs of the places I grew up. The bum notes in this film are those that bogged down her first two features with their Sundance lab schematicisms (sexual abuse as deciding causal factor when living in Muskogee, OK, is enough; her first sale in KC---no one seriously says "I don't tolerate _____ in my Christian household!---they just threaten to call the police), but ultimately the sheer ambient heft of this nearly three-hour film dissipates these sequences.

This is an unabashedly sincere film with deliberate on-the-nose pop cues from a director whose empathy extends specifically and wholeheartedly toward those yearning for something minor to some in this grotesquely wealthy county, but continuously taken-for-granted by, say, the wealthy denizens of the Koched-up Mission Hills, KS (the mag-crew's first sales target and a central city in one of the more affluent counties in the US; also neighbor to my own much more leftist county). This yearning is really the American ennui---Antonioni had his architectural bemusements, the America Arnold adeptly represents has strip-malls and fast food chains, a repetitive sprawl that both affects and represents the interiority of the yearners whose strivings are met with inertness---the feeling of never having left a place eight-hundred miles away. Every Burger King has the same spatial layout and emerges in the eyesight ala a recently loaded sandbox video game; the Midwestern yearner's conflict arises in trying to not mentally mirror the same layout of spaces designed to optimize the flow of capital. Arnold best conveys this uniquely American ennui, this listlessness, in the film's back half, as the scenes get more repetitive, the landscape more homogenous, the pop songs sadder, Stars's eyes more doleful, all the way until you awaken in water---if you're one of the fortunate few.


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PostPosted: Sat Jun 24, 2017 3:28 am 
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Good post. I grew up in/around KC and have been wondering how much the location had to do with this being my favorite from last year (a very strong year for me). I thought the film was a strong Lana Del Rey-ification of Kansas/Missouri surfaces with more authenticity than the "Ride" video itself. Despite being pretty culturally engaged for its size (it has what now, four art house cinemas?) the Kansas City area is a through and through fast food one in that what's "cool" there among teens hardly ever rises above a sad melting pot of the rest of the country's hand-me-down, leftover trash trends. Arnold gets, I think, how there's something surprisingly moving in the naivete that entails, and the cultivated desire for elsewhere. Probably something that applies to the larger midwestern setting I suppose (small oases like Lawrence excepted) and so it's a note that she can hold throughout the rest of the film, in the very mix of the characters, to great effect.


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PostPosted: Sat Jun 24, 2017 12:24 pm 
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Location: Lawrence, KS, U.S.
I don't know why I left Lana del Rey after "Video Games", but I spent a solid thirty-forty minutes watching her videos after your namedrop. I cannot imagine a more perfect pop star avatar of our current moment of utter cultural stasis (which I'd submit is symptomatic of our current Gilded Age, but that's a different post)! There's literally a song on her forthcoming album called "Tomorrow Never Came" featuring Lennon's son.
-----
Your description of the current Kansas City is accurate, although I'd be more generous and state that it's a strong contender for fourth best Midwestern city (it'll never be Wichita, at least). Perhaps because I know the city better than its characters, but I found their enthusiasm over KC one of the more moving parts of the film perhaps because it reminds me of when I moved to Wichita from a rural border-city expecting there to be a cultural hub of Kiarostami fans, only to receive sprawl loneliness and a city enthralled by their small-ish university's basketball team, before they raised their profile significantly. That note you refer to is one she can hold also because there really aren't any other filmmakers holding it, let alone talented ones. This is a film where being on-the-nose almost feels like a necessity.

(Kansas City has only two arthouses and one of them exclusively screens Mirrens and The Room---I guess in order to get the kids out you have to screen a movie they can laugh at, sell beer, and call it an experience. The other arthouse---the Tivoli---does screen fare like Toni Erdmann and Chimes at Midnight, but predictably had to crowdfund their digital projectors. The arthouse in Lawrence is a multi-purpose venue which does generally get the Mirrens but are able to snag a Certain Women for a week once every three-four months. You just have to select your screening such that Ben Folds or whoever isn't bleeding into Michelle Williams. Remarkably, they even have a rental wing.)


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 27, 2018 5:06 pm 
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Great film. Wish I'd seen it in the theatre. Agree with mfunk, her imagery is extraordinary, as witnessed in Wuthering Heights, and even more so here. And as with Fish Tank, great music.

I would have liked to have known going in that
[Reveal] Spoiler:
nothing terrible happens -- no sexual assault, brutal violence, or suicide. My anxieties that the story was about to turn down one of these avenues had me white-knuckling the remote. There are some things I can't watch.


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 27, 2018 5:22 pm 
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bottled spider wrote:
I would have liked to have known going in that
[Reveal] Spoiler:
nothing terrible happens -- no sexual assault, brutal violence, or suicide. My anxieties that the story was about to turn down one of these avenues had me white-knuckling the remote. There are some things I can't watch.


I can't remember if this was true for Red Road or Wuthering Heights, but Fish Tank
[Reveal] Spoiler:
had several scenes that appeared to be careening towards tragedy only to be narrowly averted, like the attack that occurs when Mia tries to free the horse, the near kidnapping of the little girl, and that same little girl nearly drowning in the river.


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 27, 2018 6:58 pm 
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Now you mention it, you're right, all of her films play with similar apprehensions. This latest isn't really any different in that regard.


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