By Alan Scherstuhl
By Charles Taylor
By Melissa Anderson
By Inkoo Kang
By Amy Nicholson
By Sam Weisberg
By Stephanie Zacharek
By Chuck Wilson
With striking compositions and cuts that reveal a deep appreciation of cinema's possibilities, Valeria Golino's Honey could be about anything at all and still demand and hold your attention; that the narrative is as moving as the film is aesthetically precise is an added delight.
Jasmine Trinca stars as Irene, a young woman who performs assisted suicides for the terminally ill. Irene has a relatively stable existence, with a lover and periodic trips to Mexico for work. Things become complex, however, when she supplies fatal drugs to Carlo (Carlo Cecchi), a man who turns out to be perfectly healthy.
As Irene tries to recover the drugs, she and Carlo develop an unlikely friendship. That last sentence might sound like a logline for a Hollywood buddy comedy, but Honey exhibits zero sentimentality. It's a respectful work of observation that gracefully defers from psychoanalyzing either of its central characters, instead observing from an objective remove.
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Golino thinks in images, not reductive psychology, and the film is at its sublime best when she applies formalist skill to depict otherwise unremarkable scenes — dinner in a Chinese restaurant, a dance in a nightclub — with deep pathos. In one heartbreaking moment, Irene dances against a glass wall, staring at a man dancing with her on the other side.
It may not sound like much, but — well, to understand, you'll just have to see it.
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