Written by: Michael Den Boer on December 27th, 2014
Theatrical Release Date: Italy, May 1st, 2013
Director: Valeria Golino
Writers: Valeria Golino, Francesca Marciano, Valia Santella
Cast: Jasmine Trinca, Carlo Cecchi, Libero De Rienzo, Vinicio Marchioni, Valeria Bilello
DVD Release Date: January 6th, 2015
Approximate Running Time: 97 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Sound: Dolby Digital 5.1 Italian, Dolby Digital Stereo Italian
DVD Release: Kino Lorber
Region Encoding: Region 1 NTSC
Retail Price: $29.95
Synopsis: A young woman leads a double life, her family believes that she is a student. When in reality she secretly assists terminal patients die with dignity. That is until one day when attempt to lead a double life is put in jeopardy. When a man posing a terminally ill patient gets her to assist him in his desire to die. Things quickly take a turn for the worse when she discovers that he is not ill and that he is depressed. Not wanting to be responsible for his suicide she forces herself into his life and forms a most unlikely bond.
There is no denying that life is a precious gift, but what if a once healthy existence has turned into a painful one due to illness? Should said person who is suffering be forced to die of natural causes or should said person have the final say in when they want to end their own suffering?
Content wise, this film is a multilayered drama that does a superb job examining the pros and cons of Euthanasia, one of the more controversial issues in today’s world. With that being said, without a doubt this film greatest asset is the way that it never forces its views on its audience and in the end it leaves it up to each viewer to decide where they stand on the issue of Euthanasia.
Another strength of this melodrama is its well defined protagonist and their growth throughout this film. This characters confidence in what they are doing is ultimately called into question. When it is discovered that one of their patience’s has lied to them. With this act of betrayal forcing the protagonist to take a hard look at what they have been doing.
Honey is the directorial debut of Valeria Golino, whose extensive resume as an actress includes films like, Rain Man, Hot Shots! and its sequel. Key collaborators of Honey include cinematographer Gergely Pohárnok (Taxidermia, A Quiet Life) and screenwriter Francesca Marciano (I’m Not Scared).
And though there is no dying that this is first and foremost a character driven film. One must undervalue its use of music or its rock solid visuals. Both of which greatly reinforce the mood of the story at hand. Also one way that music play a central role is how the protagonist has each terminally ill patient choose their soundtrack that will play in their final moments.
Performance wise the entire cast are all great in the roles. With the strongest performance being Jasmine Trinca’s (The Son’s Room, The Best of Youth) in the role of Honey. Another performance of note is Carlo Cecchi (Stealing Beauty) in the role of Carlo Grimaldi, the patient who misleads Honey about his intentions about obtaining her services. The moments that these two actors appear onscreen together are by far and way the ones that resonate the most.
Kino Lorber presents Honey in an anamorphic widescreen that retains the film intended ‘scope’ aspect ratio. The source used is in great shape, color and flesh tones look accurate, details look crisp and black levels look very good. There are no issues with compression and edge enhancement is kept to minimum.
This release comes with two audio options, a Dolby Digital 5.1 mix in Italian and a Dolby Digital Stereo mix in Italian. The differences in these two mixes is minimal, with the 5.1 mix sounding slighter more robust. Dialog always comes through clearly and everything sounds balanced throughout. Also included with this release are removable English subtitles.
Extras for this release include a stills gallery, a trailer for the film and a promo reel for Cinema Made in Italy. Overall Honey gets a strong audio / video presentation from Kino Lorber.