Honey helps people. Through her work she helps to end the suffering of those who feel there are no other options left. When a new client breaks her strict rules, she is forced to question both her morals and her profession. My review of Honey (Miele) after the jump.
Irene, or Honey (Jasmine Trinca) as she calls herself, works for a group that aids people in ending their lives. They are sick, terminally ill, bed-ridden and in immense pain. They have had enough and Honey helps them end it all. She regularly travels to Mexico where she obtains a drug used to euthanise dogs and smuggles it back to Italy, where she instructs her clients on how to use it so that they can euthanise themselves, usually with the assistance of a family member or loved one. Honey has strict rules – she only helps those who are dying or have no quality of life due to their serious illness.
When Honey is sent to the home of Carlo Grimaldi (Carlo Cecchi) she feels uneasy about the situation. This man doesn’t seem ill and doesn’t have any loved ones to aid him. Why would this seemingly healthy man want to die? Honey is confused and upset, she’s not a murderer, she only wants to help people. Honey sets out to try to find out what Carlo’s story is and to convince him that life is worth fighting for, something that she also has to convince herself of.
Adapted from the novel A nome tuo by Mauro Covacich, Honey is the directorial début from well-known Italian actress Valeria Golino, who was recognised at this year’s Cannes Film Festival (where Honey played in the Un Certain Regard section) with the Prize of the Ecumenical Jury – Special Mention. It’s a strong directorial début from Golino, who manages to create a moving, yet not overally macabre drama about a woman with a very unusual profession. Honey is a multi-layered and unique character, someone who wants to help others, yet seems lost herself. Questions of right and wrong and of morality arise, and Honey (and the audience alike) are forced to confront them. Unfortunately, the relationship between Honey and Carlos is not as successful as Honey’s own personal journey. Scenes between them feel forced, and the film loses its way in the latter stages as their interactions become the prominent focus of the film.
Jasmine Trinca gives a measured, understated performance as Honey. A lesser actress may have overplayed the emotions, or could easily come off seeming uncaring; however Trinca gives us a character that clearly cares, but keeps it her emotions at check. Set in various locations in Italy, Honey takes its audience on a journey around the beautiful country. There is some great photography on display, in particular, scenes of Honey swimming in the beach were wonderfully shot. Honey’s escape was the water, and also music, which she pumped through her iPod while traveling for work and also provided to her clients during their final moments. Music can be so powerful, and the music used in Honey was fantastic – from Italian opera, to modern electro-pop, it worked so well.
Honey raises many questions about the sanctity of life – it’s an emotional journey with an unusual, yet oddly likable character.
Honey/Miele is playing as part of the 2013 Lavazza Italian Film Festival in Australia. For information about screening times and other festival information, visit: http://www.italianfilmfestival.com.au/
By Sam McCosh
Director: Valeria Golino
Writer(s): Valeria Golino, Francesca Marciano, Valia Santella (screenplay); Mauro Covacich (novel)
Starring: Jasmine Trinca, Carlo Cecchi, Libero De Rienzo
Runtime: 96 minutes