American Honey (2016) Explained

  • Published: 20 August 2017
  • In this installment of Films Explained, I explore the elusive narrative and symbolism in Andrea Arnold's American Honey (2016).


    Ian Urbina's 2007 article "For youths, a grim tour on magazine crews"

    CBC News' article "Economic Ladder no harder to climb today, US report finds"

    National Consumers Leagues' 2009 article "Travelling sales crews: The perils of life on the road"

    Darlena Cunha's 2015 article "Trapped into selling magazines door-to-door"

    Jack Smith IV's 2016 article "''American Honey'" is about love vs. capitalism, and how class trauma destroys self-worth"

    Jessie Gumbarge's 2016 article "What does the ending of American Honey really mean?"
  • Movies Movies

Comments • 327

  • Daniel Santana
    Daniel Santana  2 years back

    So 4 months until the next video?

    • Daniel Santana
      Daniel Santana  2 years back

      Film Herald yessssss I love you❤️

    • Film Herald
      Film Herald   2 years back

      Nope! I have some free time coming up over the next few weeks so I should have another up within a month at the very least. At 50,000 subscribers I'll also have an update video coming out. Stay tuned!

  • mushy
    mushy  2 weeks back

    The main character has the worst attitude ever. I'm surprised they put up with her, or she could sell anything without turning tricks(which she resorts to)

    • TheUltimate 420
      TheUltimate 420  2 weeks back

      Thr wage gap is fake

      • Jay Kemm
        Jay Kemm  2 weeks back

        I thought it was nice that someone gave one of Shia Labeoufs half wit relative a spot in a movie. Then I noticed it was Shia Labeouf. I'm actually pretty relieved I only need to look out for one of these crappy morons now.

        • Morgan Carline
          Morgan Carline  3 weeks back

          Do you think that the sound and fire going out symbolized them leaving her there by herself?

          • Caisaiah Cisco
            Caisaiah Cisco  3 weeks back

            this movie was literally the weirdest movie i have watched in a while. i didn’t understand a single thing... and yet. it was really good

            • Gonzalo Calvo
              Gonzalo Calvo  4 weeks back

              The film is about the economic crisis and the methamphetamine boom, as depicted through the case of teenage poors, in a road movie style. Meth, also called speed, relates to the concept of road, as its abandonment does to the image of a turtle. The drug also is known as sugar, therefore the title of American Honey, also referring to the young female character. Her innocence is ambiguosly interpretable as a lack of wisdom, or as a trait of age, which leaves somehow the viewer in discomfort.

              • t acks
                t acks  1 months back

                Jake and star get into disagreements and Star stops talking to Jake. Each time he seeks her out and gives her something (the stolen ring after getting mad that the lady laughed at jake, the turtle) or finds on her (after meeting the cowboys, when she was in the van and he was on his bike after their falling out over not being about to talk about their relationship and she kissed the loser).

                I think he came back to the mag crew to be with star, he was honest with star and could never be himself around his boss

                • Sam
                  Sam  1 months back

                  I took Crystal at her word that Jake's character was selling girls on sex and intimacy to join the magazine crew. She told Star she was deliberating on whether or not to kick her out right before she tells her Jake is gone. I thought that was a test to see whether Star would stay without the romantic interest that drew her in the first place. I don't really see what explains Jake coming back, otherwise. The turtle seemed like a "let's be friends" symbol to me.

                  • andypunkz
                    andypunkz  2 months back

                    In fact, there’s a sense of freedom in the end: Jake and Star free themselves from the buy-sell chain they were stucked in at the beginning. Jake was trying to sell himself in the beginning, as well was Star. But in the end Jake gifts Star a natural element: something that cannot be sold nor stolen, something free, as their relationship will be from now on.

                    • The Auteurist
                      The Auteurist  2 months back

                      Great video 👍

                      • Anna Miller
                        Anna Miller  3 months back

                        This movie is good !!!!!! But I didn’t understand the ending

                        • WarmBeer Gaming Dude
                          WarmBeer Gaming Dude  3 months back

                          Fantastic movie

                          • myfatassdick
                            myfatassdick  3 months back

                            Is this movie in 4:3?

                            Its probably pretty simple but vague so people try to get more out of it

                            I forgot who (I think the guy who directed Blair witch in one of his YouTube videos) but he said something along the lines of "yea we love it when people come up with their own meanings because then we can just say "yea yup that's exactly what we meant"

                            Cheap cast, cheap set, cheap setx2, actually free set and very artsy with the 4:3 plus the free filler animal shots which goes back to "yea yup sure that's exactly what we meant"

                            • Saige Lofton
                              Saige Lofton  3 months back

                              To me, Jake gave Star presents in the film to make her happy , showing that he still cares .But something was different this time , when she took the present she set it free symbolizing her moving on and setting herself free and then going through a rebirth as a changed person . I think she followed after the turtle as a way of “copying” it’s way of moving forward

                              • I talk to satan cause he listens to my needs

                                I realize how late I am to finding this movie but the one thing I haven’t been able to find anyone else questioning is the amount of scenes w blood in them that are never really explained? ( her stepping in blood puddle, jakes bloody shirt, etc. ) I’ve been trying to think what this could symbolize & would love to hear anyone’s ideas

                                • Ivory Johnson
                                  Ivory Johnson  3 months back

                                  when star got out of the semi, what did she step in ? blood ? that part confused me so bad. she got disgusted then walked off and didn’t tell nobody lol i don’t get it

                                  • Ivory Johnson
                                    Ivory Johnson  3 months back

                                    Film Herald ohhh okok that makes sense, thank you !!

                                  • Film Herald
                                    Film Herald   3 months back

                                    If I recall correctly she stepped in the carcass of a dead cow. That's the insinuation. She looks over and sees that she's next to aslaughterhouse.

                                • Samantha Gawlik
                                  Samantha Gawlik  4 months back

                                  I have never felt so alive / fresh / free from living within a movie. THIS is the type of “coming of age” that I like to see. You experience sacrifice, empathy, risk, hurt, love, and freedom like no other just from watching these characters interact in their personal hardships of life. 
PLEASE do not down play Shia’s rat tail. It is everything to me.... who knew scruffy with a hint of trash could be so sexy?? Oh, wait. It always was..... 
Amazing movie, can’t stop thinking about it.... tempted to rewatch already.

                                  • jeffrey nash
                                    jeffrey nash  4 months back

                                    this movie took me by of my favs from the last few years....beautiful

                                    • Santosh Miriyala
                                      Santosh Miriyala  4 months back

                                      How did youtube know i watched this movie on Netflix and yes this movie was brilliant and i could have watched 2 more hours of absolutely beautiful nothing ..

                                      • Mac 77
                                        Mac 77  4 months back

                                        I still think its about prostitution...

                                        • Dora Segall
                                          Dora Segall  4 months back

                                          Was anyone else conflicted by Star’s interaction with the family that reminded her of her own? I initially thought she was planning return to the kids but maybe it was more a reflection of where she came from before choosing to rise above it during her rebirth.

                                          • Olivera Stevanovic
                                            Olivera Stevanovic  4 months back

                                            Hyper realism , of course did not make any money ... But so many people can resonate with this story .. Great movie !

                                            • War Thuder
                                              War Thuder  4 months back

                                              1. poor people don't own cars, poor in america means living pay check to pay check aka getting by. These people would be considered rich by global standards. Considering that Russians make 2k less than the national poverty stander of 12k , while in the rest of the world poor means destitute starving children.

                                              2. the reason that the top 1 percent own so much is they own businesses which means all that money they earn is flowing back into the economy, and the reason for the higher rate is the success of the stock market which has helped lift millions of people out of poverty(global standard) and facilitated massive amounts of trade and wealth creation.

                                              3. the rich get richer at a disproportionate rate yes, but all classes overall are getting more wealthy even the "poor"

                                              4 buying power is going up because of these evil companies creating innovation . remember when flat screen TVs were thousands of dollar you can now buy a brand new 32 inch flat screen for 80 dollars from Walmart

                                              5. the reason most of these people aren't working at a McDonald's(which pays much better than papers) is likely because they hadn't considered, are addicted to something, grew up in a broken household, have metal issues, is dependent on government handouts or all of the above.

                                              • Dawnandlo
                                                Dawnandlo  5 months back

                                                Any one of them could go join a union hall of their choice become an apprentice, learn a trade, and make a living wage.

                                                • Colleen Sarmento
                                                  Colleen Sarmento  5 months back

                                                  Great video👌 the jazz in the background is amazing

                                                  • mek80010
                                                    mek80010  5 months back

                                                    This movie was ass.

                                                    • Morgan Brown
                                                      Morgan Brown  5 months back

                                                      I’m in love with this movie

                                                      • Jared Moser
                                                        Jared Moser  5 months back

                                                        Great movie

                                                        • Chloe Mills
                                                          Chloe Mills  5 months back

                                                          Yes so I love your interpretation thank you

                                                          • MilkyIceCream
                                                            MilkyIceCream  5 months back

                                                            God I love the coloration/colors/coloring of the movie. Some shots are really vibrant and saturated imo,, so aesthetic

                                                            • Michael Shelton
                                                              Michael Shelton  5 months back

                                                              You sound like a typical rich or middle class kid that's trying to sound sympathetic to the American lower class. Bro I grew up just as poor as the characters on this movie. If I woukd have applied myself I could have easily gotten loans and got a degree and been more economically successful. I know several people that grew up in trailors like myself that have quarter to a half a million dollar homes. I get so sick of middle class silver spoon people trying to sound sympathetic to lower class people. American lower class has more opportunities than any other country in the world.

                                                              • t acks
                                                                t acks  2 months back

                                                                Yes, people in the ghetto or poor areas can and do get out, if they want to.

                                                                The ones who don't work hard and live off the system stay there. Especially if you have children and no one to help care for them and other circumstances.

                                                                I've been very poor as a child, lived in a shelter, in a car, with other people, and in the ghetto. I have my own home now in the suburbs. Being poor sucks, but if people make good decisions they can turn life around. America has lots of opportunity for those who work hard.

                                                            • Captain Funnypants
                                                              Captain Funnypants  5 months back

                                                              I feel like movies are the same as music in some ways. You dont have to be the best musician, or in this case actors. You dont have to have the best production or spend the most money making something. etc. but you just have to mean it. People can tell when you mean it. Great film

                                                              • Essie S
                                                                Essie S  5 months back

                                                                I’m surprised u didn’t mention the theme of rape. It seemed she was raped at home and then was in like 5 different scenarios that could have ended that way. It gave me the worst anxiety every time. She was way too innocent and naive. I feel like the filmmaker was trying to say a lot about sexual violence thru those scenes. Just not sure what..

                                                                • Vanessa Lori Nascimento Silva


                                                                  • Comicbookstoreguy177
                                                                    Comicbookstoreguy177  5 months back

                                                                    I thought star’s dream was telling. She wanted her own trailer with a lot of kids. She was aspiring to be trailer trash!

                                                                    • Nard Dog
                                                                      Nard Dog  5 months back

                                                                      This movie absolutely sucked shit

                                                                      • Knowledgeable Bro
                                                                        Knowledgeable Bro  5 months back

                                                                        Wage gape is mostly due to different hours work (men do more overwork, women take more breaks)

                                                                        • samantha playz xox
                                                                          samantha playz xox  5 months back

                                                                          i’m confused was jake playing on the girl he had ahem with
                                                                          i’m wondering if he plays on the new girl or something.

                                                                          • LaLa DontTrip
                                                                            LaLa DontTrip  5 months back

                                                                            Obsessed with Shia in this movie & his romance with her I couldn't get enough their relationship is confusing but it's there it's like he feels her but back's up then let's her know how much he's into her & hurt but then she's like confused by his actions but she knows it's there they both do ....I love it 😍😍

                                                                            • Avilez Bea
                                                                              Avilez Bea  5 months back

                                                                              Loved this movie 💕

                                                                              • Xia Martin
                                                                                Xia Martin  5 months back

                                                                                This movie was nostalgic for me. I have no regrets.

                                                                                • Joe Gondek
                                                                                  Joe Gondek  5 months back

                                                                                  Shut up you GENDER COMMUNIST!

                                                                                  • Sodacanman33
                                                                                    Sodacanman33  5 months back

                                                                                    Nah, she's a hoe

                                                                                    • CaRnAgE_4_Justin
                                                                                      CaRnAgE_4_Justin  5 months back

                                                                                      Loved the movie... hated the ending

                                                                                      • Yuuf Eternal
                                                                                        Yuuf Eternal  5 months back

                                                                                        The turtle was a peace offering. He obviously cares about her, the way he acted. The baptism scene is left to be open ended, so we the viewer make up our own ending. I think most of the movie is just artistic for the sake of it, without anything to preach or interpret. It feels very human, and you cannot make up these personalities...albeit Shia, he actually sold his character the worse, even though he did a good job.

                                                                                        I do appteciate how you broje it down though. Very interesting.

                                                                                        • meeshell
                                                                                          meeshell  5 months back

                                                                                          I wondered why these characters looked so realistic!

                                                                                          • adam burdt
                                                                                            adam burdt  5 months back

                                                                                            Were supposed to get all this? Am I an idiot for not seeing this symbolism the first time through