Honeycrisp is a sweet, humorous, and occasionally touching film. The plot follows estranged sisters Hannah (Heather Call) and Greta (Megan St. John), whose parents recently died in a tragic car accident. The event causes the sisters to meet up at their old family cabin to clean it up. There, they awkwardly reunite with childhood friend Ryan (Keenan Odenkirk), who lives in the neighboring cabin with his intellectually disabled brother Sam (Joe Buckley).
Honeycrisp primarily focuses on small talk and little moments between the two sisters and Ryan. The sisters talk about their surroundings, occasionally about their past, and a lot about sex. Part of Honeycrisp’s humor stems from how the sisters always end up having conversations about sex. Outdoor sex, anal sex, even torture porn on one occasion (it’s one of the first things the viewers hear them discuss). In one scene, the sisters try playing backgammon—which they have no clue how to play—and end up instead using the dice to approximate how many people they’ve had sex with.
There’s a hilarious bit where Greta begins probing Hannah and Ryan about what they were doing at a vineyard. The scene, however, turns bitter and serious as the sisters begin fighting and reveal the reason behind their estranged relationship. Ryan does help keep some humor in the scene as the poor man gets caught between the sisters’ vicious argument.
Honeycrisp’s lovely woodland setting works ideally with the plot’s focus on conversations. The film gives time to appreciate its surroundings, whether it be a raccoon wandering around or rain drizzling off a tree branch. The setting does wonders for the film’s atmosphere, giving it an incredibly pleasing, tranquil vibe. The film’s sound helps to amplify such mood, except when a strange audio issue occurs during Ryan’s introduction—causing a distracting echo effect whenever a character speaks.
There are a few other issues with Honeycrisp. The sisters can come across as self-centered and arrogant towards the other characters. Such negative traits are at their worst around Ryan who—while far from being a saint himself—gains my compassion as the sisters toss him around like a ragdoll and/or use him for revenge. The sisters are frustratingly ignorant towards Sam’s apparent intellectual disability—handing him an actual sword without thinking about the possible dangerous consequences of such action. Honeycrisp also tries its hand at gender politics despite it being completely extraneous to the film’s primary focus. The sisters’ conversations make it abundantly clear, in a natural manner, what their and director Marc Wilkinson’s thoughts are on equality. There was no need to hammer such ideals in with stereotypical male chauvinism.
Honeycrisp may have worked more effectively as a two-woman show—focusing primarily on the sisters’ interactions and avoiding the aforementioned issues. Nonetheless, Honeycrisp is able to conclude its story on a high note. The finale does an effective job of mending the rip between sisters without completely fixing it. Despite their harsher moments, the sisters end up being overall likable, fun characters. Honeycrisp’s serene atmosphere, humorous small talk, and moving scenes between the sisters makes for an enjoyable film.
Honeycrisp Overall 3.5/5
Honeycrisp will premier during the NORTH BY MIDWEST FILM FESTIVAL (NXMW) on March 17th in
Kalamazoo, Michigan. You can RSVP for free event passes & get screening information at nxmwfilm.org/
DVDs & film posters will be available. The film will then continue on the international film festival circuit over the next year as it seeks further distribution.