16/10/16, American Honey
Aldous Huxley said the most difficult part of a story is the ending; it's invariably unconvincing because in real life, there is no real ending, life just keeps going on. I thought about this as I left the Filmhouse cinema on snazzy Lothian Road yesterday, having watched American Honey. I even heard people leaving the cinema discussing how the final part of the film didn't seem to go anywhere. But perhaps this is deliberate? And for this reason, I don't think I can be critical of the film's least satisfying part.
As for the rest of it: it reminded me of my own stint as a door-to-door salesperson during a heavy, humid summer in Virginia, having just finished university. Actually, American Honey is not really about the lows and even-lower about that kind of job, of the constant rejections and sense of failure. It is a snapshot of America, though; the wealthy areas and the poverty. In the film's most moving scene, the film's protagonist enters the home of endearing, desperately poor children, with a barely-conscious mother in the background. As if you need reminding, there's always the other side to the American Dream (or any country's dream), inhabited by decent people whose lives you wouldn't wish on your enemy. In a country dedicated to freedom of the individual, which America is (at least in theory), you see the cost of such freedom: the victims are usually the children of the ones who have fallen through the cracks.On a different note, Shia Lebeouf is okay in this. This is the second time I've seen him be okay in a film, after Lawless. If he continues in this form, I shall have to revise my opinion of him and not roll my eyes at the thought of his presence in a movie. Of course, to a large degree, it's the film that makes the actor shine, and this was a beautifully shot film full of strong performances by unheard-of young actors. I guess any actor who performs in a Transformers film, or Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skull, is going to look like a twat.