Andrea Arnold brings a tale of the working class youth inhabiting Middle America, whilst chasing the capitalist dream. Newcomer Sasha Lane who was discovered on a beach in Florida gives a monster of a performance as an 18 year old Texan called Star struggling to survive on the scraps life’s thrown at her.
Saddled with burdens at a young age Star is the main carer for her two younger siblings. Her mother is neglectful to say the least and is unable able to understand the word parent. Star also has to evade the wandering hands of her mother’s boyfriend who is beyond creepy and verging on his way to being disturbing.
Star doesn’t hesitate when she has the chance to join a band or rogue sales operatives. Traveling state to state selling magazines in a van with a heavy mostly Hip hop soundtrack that gets everyone rapping away and fully plunges the audience into their youthful exuberance.
Star is visibly smitten by one of the project leads played by Shia Lebouef in most convincing and engaging performances a few years. Star soon realises that the sales techniques used to make sales are part of a broader capitalist vision that she’s not in line with. After some deliberation she decides to throw herself head first into her new path.
Impressive natural performances from a number of first time actors including Sascha Lane. It has a sort of Office feel to it as they mesh together doing silly things that teenagers do on their first summer away from home.
Beautifully shot by cinematographer Robbie Ryan who goes onto to give us longer shot frames. This captures a number of beautiful sky images which brings the power of the road trip and the nature that they encompass to the forefront elegantly.
The dreams and desires of this young band are cleverly contrasted with the tough urban backdrop and the challenges of the road and making your own way. The music I mentioned earlier is used wittily characterise their relentless spirits and robust nature. Hip Hop is the mainstay in this respect as it’s the music for the young generation.
Although faced with desperate situations from young. Star has this lovely nurturing quality which is personified a number of times as she caringly saves insects and dives into rescue a friend in trouble in one scene in the movei.
This film works as it’s a real portrait of Life on the other side of the 1% bubble. Engaging performances and delicate peeling of the teenager into adulthood.