American Honey Trailer: An Evocative Portrait of The American Dream

By  · Published on August 19th, 2016

As Bruce Springsteen tells us, American Honey wants to Dream Baby Dream.

Who better than Bruce Springsteen to be featured in the newest trailer for American Honey? Springsteen has been an icon for capturing the cynicism and disenchantment of American youth, which is essentially the plot of this film. There will always be a resilient counter-culture movement telling older generations to suck it and chasing after what they believe is right. Like Jack Kerouac, American youths will abandon society and turn to the road to fully explore the fickleness and harsh reality of the American dream.

As Springsteen sings “Dream Baby Dream,” viewers meet Star (newcomer Sasha Lane) just as she is recruited by Jake (Shia LaBeouf) to travel cross-country selling magazines with his ragtag misfit crew. In her tour of the Midwest, she gets caught up in hard partying, law breaking, and a whirlwind of young love. This trailer has a frenzied and youthful energy that is emphasized by the voiceover quoting a rave review from Twitch saying, “only a few times in a generation does a film speak to youth in a lasting and powerful way.” It waves its faded Americana flag high with gorgeous cinematography shot all over the Midwest and a supporting cast filled with teenagers who director Andrea Arnold found on the streets.

The praises of the film that the teaser mentions have been more than earned. American Honey made its world debut earlier this year at the Cannes Film Festival where the cast had a dance party on the red carpet. The film received mostly positive reviews and won the coveted Jury Prize of the festival and was picked up by indie distribution and production company A24. Arnold, who directed and wrote the film, was inspired by American youths who travel across the country in “Magazine Crews” and even embarked on her own road-trip from California to Miami, Florida in order to research for the film. Her previous works include directing two episodes of the Amazon hit series Transparent, the Michael Fassbender starring Fish Tank (2009), Wuthering Heights (2011), and an Oscar for her short film Wasp (2003).

It does seem vaguely ironic that Arnold hails from England and created an ode to finding one’s own American dream. But, she more than proves her knowledge and understanding of the spirit of America. Just earlier this week, our Max Covill praised the trailers of A24 films and, if you can get past the thoroughly awkward narrator (who sounds like she should be advertising tampons rather than a coming of age movie), this trailer fits right into their wheelhouse. It offers an evocative and emotional look at this deeply personal film. Keep on the lookout for this film to ride into theaters on September 30th after it screens at the Toronto International Film Festival and Fantastic Fest.

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