Working outside the law and under the pseudonym Honey, Irene (Jasmine Trinca) provides ‘nectar with a sting’, assisting the terminally ill to end their life with dignity and respect.
With a string of acting accomplishments to her credit, first time director, Valeria Golino delivers a thought provoking and heart-warming portrayal of the many layers, lives and losses encountered along the pathway of this controversial subject.
Irene’s work is a risky business, it pays well and yet there is a price to pay. Her routine involves travelling from Los Angeles to Mexico to obtain the lethal substance and then to deliver the goods. In order to maintain her professional anonymity, personal relationships are kept at arm’s length, leaving details of her insular life open to interpretation and misunderstanding by friends and family, which only serves to magnify her need to isolate.
The procedure of euthanasia is methodical and measured, while the individual circumstances and stories to end the suffering are tender, touching and filmed with delicate intensity. The use of close up photography and vivid soundscape create imagery of a sensual and dramatic nature as Irene restores balance and harmony between jobs, in the arms of Mother Nature.
Rules, regulations and ethics are put to the test when Irene meets Carlo Grimaldi, a client who challenges convention, evokes suspicion and intrigue and ultimately renders a higher understanding from the perspective of his experience. To find honour in the life of another is to find true meaning.
While the subject matter generates feelings of discomfort and the content is at times disturbing, Honey (Miele) offers a brilliant account of questioning the value of life and the ever-present human impulse for meaningful connection.
© Patricia Herreen 2013