American Honey (film)

American Honey

Theatrical release poster
Directed by Andrea Arnold
Produced by
  • Thomas Benski
  • Lars Knudsen
  • Jay Van Hoy
  • Lucas Ochoa
  • Pouya Shahbazian
  • Alice Weinberg
Written by Andrea Arnold
Cinematography Robbie Ryan
Edited by Joe Bini
Distributed by
Release dates
  • May 15, 2016 (2016-05-15) (Cannes)
  • September 30, 2016 (2016-09-30) (United States)
  • October 14, 2016 (2016-10-14) (United Kingdom)
Running time
163 minutes[1]
  • United Kingdom
  • United States
Language English
Budget $3.5 million[2]
Box office $1.7 million[3]

American Honey is a 2016 British-American drama road film written and directed by the British filmmaker Andrea Arnold. The film stars Sasha Lane, Shia LaBeouf, and Riley Keough. It is Arnold's first film to be set and filmed outside of the United Kingdom.

The film was selected to compete for the Palme d'Or at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival.[4][5] At Cannes it won the Prix du Jury.[6] The film was released in the United States on September 30, 2016, by A24. It was then released in the United Kingdom on October 14, 2016 by Universal Pictures and Focus Features.


A teenage girl with nothing to lose joins a travelling magazine sales crew, and gets caught up in a whirlwind of hard partying, law bending and young love as she criss-crosses the Midwest with a band of misfits.




Arnold began writing the screenplay in 2013 and it was first announced under the pre-production title Mag Crew at Film4's 2013 Cannes Film Festival party.[7][8] Arnold became inspired by lives of American youths in "Magazine Crews" who travel the United States selling magazine subscriptions, an occupation that has caused controversy in the United States.[9][10][11] In researching for the film, Arnold embarked on a road trip from California to Miami, Florida. In late 2013, Arnold was the Filmmaker-in-Residence at the New York Film Festival. During this time, she worked on the second draft of the script and used the opportunity to meet with potential casting directors.[9][12]

In 2014, the film's producers and new title, American Honey, were announced.[13] In March 2015, casting took place in Oklahoma in preparation for a summer shoot.[14]


Arnold "street cast" by searching beaches, streets, and approaching drunk teenagers.[15] Arnold discovered Sasha Lane while she was on spring break with her friends; Lane decided to audition for the film and won the lead role.[16][17][18][19] The remainder of the cast were found in parking lots, construction sites, streets, and state fairs.[20][21][22]

In April 2015, Shia LaBeouf was cast in an unspecified role.[23] In early June, Arielle Holmes of the autobiographical film Heaven Knows What was reported to have joined the cast.[24]


In May 2015, filming was reported in Muskogee, Okmulgee, and Norman, Oklahoma.[25][26][27] In late May 2015, production was reported in Mission Hills, Kansas and areas of Kansas City, Missouri.[28][29] and the police of Missouri Valley, Iowa reported that the film had recently shot in their city.[30] On 9 June, production was taking place in Omaha, Nebraska and Grand Island, Nebraska.[31] On 24 June, LaBeouf was hospitalized after being injured on set during filming in Williston, North Dakota.[32] Filming wrapped on July 5, 2015.[33][34] The film was shot over 56 days, in several states.[35]


In January 2016, A24 acquired distribution rights to the film.[36] In May 2016, Universal Pictures and Focus Features acquired international distribution rights to the film.[37] The film had its world premiere at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival on May 15, 2016, where it was selected to compete for the Palme d'Or.[4][5] The film also screened at the Toronto International Film Festival on September 8, 2016.[38][39] and Fantastic Fest,[40] and the BFI London Film Festival on October 7, 2016.[41]

It was released in the United States on September 30, 2016.[42] It was then released in the United Kingdom on October 14, 2016.[43][44]

Critical reception

External audio
Filmmaker Andrea Arnold On 'American Honey' And Preserving Mystery In Film, 20:42, September 29, 2016, Fresh Air with Terry Gross[45]

American Honey received mostly positive reviews upon its premiere at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival.[46][47][48] American Honey was also placed on several publications's "Best of the 2016 Cannes Film Festival" and "Best of the 2016 Toronto Film Festival" lists.[49][50][51] Variety placed Sasha Lane's performance in the film at number 3 on their list of the 9 breakout performances of the 2016 Toronto Film Festival.[52] The film won the Cannes Film Festival's Jury Prize, Arnold's third time winning the award,[6] and received a special commendation from the Ecumenical Jury.[53]

The film holds a 81% approval rating on review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, based on 147 reviews, with an average rating of 7.4/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "American Honey offers a refreshingly unconventional take on the coming-of-age drama whose narrative risks add up to a rewarding experience even if they don't all pay off."[54] On review aggregator Metacritic, it holds a 79% rating indicating "generally favorable reviews."[55] Guy Lodge of Variety was extremely positive, writing, "Part dreamy millennial picaresque, part distorted tapestry of Americana and part exquisitely illustrated iTunes musical, “Honey” daringly commits only to the loosest of narratives across its luxurious 162-minute running time. Yet it's constantly, engrossingly active, spinning and sparking and exploding in cycles like a Fourth of July Catherine wheel."[56] Eric Kohn of Indiewire was enthusiastic, writing that American Honey "proves Andrea Arnold is one of the best working filmmakers and finds a breakout star in Sasha Lane," and that "It's the closest thing to a magnum opus in Arnold's blossoming career."[57] David Rooney of The Hollywood Reporter called the film "A road movie without a map that nonetheless arrives at a worthwhile destination," and wrote, "The film works best as a poignant character study, observing Star as she settles into her independence and figures out who she wants to be, framed by a vast physical landscape that stretches socioeconomically from privileged wealth to squalid poverty. There's a wonderful intimacy in the way Arnold examines young women in her films."[58]

Other reviews from the premiere were positive, but less so. Peter Bradshaw of The Guardian also awarded the film three stars out of five and wrote, "It's a film which drifts onward in search for an epiphany which doesn't quite materialise. It is indulgent, and features a scenery-chewing, furniture-smashing performance from Shia LaBoeuf. Yet there is much that is valuable in the film: a sense of mood and space, interesting ideas and a tense triangular dynamic between its chief characters."[59]


Award Category Recipient(s) Result Ref(s)
British Independent Film Awards Best British Independent Film American Honey Pending [60]
Best Director Andrea Arnold Pending
Best Actress Sasha Lane Pending
Best Actor Shia LaBeouf Pending
Best Screenplay Andrea Arnold Pending
Best Achievement in Craft Robbie Ryan (cinematography) Pending
Cannes Film Festival Palme d'Or Andrea Arnold Nominated [61][62]
Jury Prize Andrea Arnold Won [63][64]
Evening Standard British Film Awards Best Film American Honey Pending [65]
Technical Achievement Robbie Ryan (cinematography) Pending
Gotham Awards Breakthrough Actor Sasha Lane Nominated [66]
Independent Spirit Awards Best Feature American Honey Pending [67]
Best Director Andrea Arnold Pending
Best Female Lead Sasha Lane Pending
Best Supporting Female Riley Keough Pending
Best Supporting Male Shia LaBeouf Pending
Best Cinematography Robbie Ryan Pending
Indiana Film Journalists Association Awards Best Feature American Honey Pending
Best Original Screenplay Andrea Arnold Pending
Best Director Andrea Arnold Pending
Best Actress Sasha Lane Pending
Best Ensemble Acting American Honey Pending
Breakout of the Year Sasha Lane Pending
Original Vision American Honey Pending
Los Cabos International Film Festival Premio Cinemex Andrea Arnold Won [68]
Stockholm International Film Festival FIPRESCI Award Andrea Arnold Won [69]


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External links

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