Andrea Arnold’s newest film, American Honey, washed over this year’s Cannes Film Festival like a tidal wave of emotions, with critics left breathless by the British director’s fourth feature. One look at the movie’s gorgeous and glorious new trailer, and it’s easy to see why. It stars newcomer Sasha Lane as a runaway who links up with a tribal group of kids whose mission is to drift around the country, fueled only by sex, drugs, and the crappy magazine subscriptions they sell for extra cash. The group is led by Riley Keough’s intimidating, Confederate-flag bikini-clad ringleader, but it’s a drifter played by Shia LaBeouf—in a performance many are calling the best of his career—who steals the show. (Also, we finally get an explanation for that rat tail and eyebrow piercing.)
Several critics have noted that American Honey is the generation-defining movie that Spring Breakers thought it was, but ultimately failed to be. “While exhilarating as sensory spectacle, ‘American Honey’ perhaps works most satisfyingly as a femme-driven corrective to Harmony Korine’s comparable but inferior Spring Breakers, a notional girl-power exercise that muted its female characters’ perspective in favor of James Franco’s gonzo mentor figure,” Variety’s Guy Lodge wrote in his review. “That’s not an error Arnold makes.” The 162-minute movie won Arnold, who’s best known for directing Fish Tank, her third special Jury Prize, and it’s easily one of our most anticipated films of the year.