Directed by: Josh Cox Starring: Sarah Butler and Siobhan Shea Short Film Review by: Annie Vincent
Directed by Josh Cox, short film Honey is a relevant teen short, which explores the emerging sexual feelings the female protagonist, Lily, has for another girl.
Shortly after moving to college, Lily meets Maia, who casually introduces her to marijuana. Maia seems nice and takes a clear interest in Lily, immediately getting close to her and using a variety of flirtatious signals in their first meeting. The tension rises and they end up kissing, which somewhat shocks Lily, who, until this point, hadn’t felt this way about girls before, only boys. Lily is quickly quite struck my Maia too, thinking about their encounter after Maia has gone and her sex life with her boyfriend takes a dive as she can’t stop thinking about Maia.
The filming for Honey was interesting, with the actors given an overall brief for each scene by Cox, but the actors completely improvising the whole thing. Sarah Butler does extraordinarily well here, conveying the dilemmas and difficulties her character faces in this challenging time. I think her bravery as an actress is also great here, particularly as she performs two sex scenes with the camera close to her and it may garner her some attention from other filmmakers looking for that rawness that coming of age films tend to try and create.
Cox has chosen close ups for the majority of the film. Initially this works well to capture the intimacy of the girls’ relationship and create a sense of awkwardness, however as this continues for such a long time, it becomes a little monotonous and finally, hard on the eyes. Whilst it is easy to see the justification for this decision, it does begin to feel like an overused technique and a step back from the actors faces would be welcome in places. The audio balancing is also a little ropey here, with white noise coming through in a couple of places.
As a film contributing to the exploration of the LGBTQ community, this is highly relevant and reflective of the experiences of many teens across the world. It is difficult to capture the complexity of such feelings, the mix of shock and confusion and pleasure they bring and the suffocating feeling of questioning some of the fundamentals of your identity: short films aren’t always the place to be able to explore these complexities because of their length, but this is an interesting addition and will resonate with young audiences.