This past Tuesday night, I was fortunate enough to attend the Los Angeles premiere of Shia LaBeouf’s new film Honey Boy. I had been hearing the buzz about the film and was ecstatic that I was able to attend. I left with a new appreciation for LaBeouf and a deep admiration for everybody involved in the making of this film.
Honey Boy is a semi-autobiographical film written by Shia LaBeouf and directed by Alma Har’el. The film stars Noah Jupe and Lucas Hedges, both playing the character of Otis at different stages in life, and Shia LaBeouf, playing Otis’s father, James Lort. The film is the story of Otis, both as a child actor in Los Angeles, and as a young adult who has landed in court mandated rehab due to destructive behavior. We learn of Otis’s life growing up, how that has affected him as an adult, and how he is going to overcome these emotional roadblocks.
This film, I think, puts LaBeouf’s whole career into perspective. Anybody that has watched Shia LaBeouf growing up will see the similarities in what Otis is working on and the show LaBeouf worked on, Even Stevens. It was clear as day. Thinking back on it, it makes me so sad to think about what LaBeouf was going through while bringing such laughter to children.
I read a review that stated that Honey Boy lets LaBeouf off the hook for his own actions, regarding the trouble he has gotten into in the past. And, I must say, that I completely disagree. This film, and him playing a version of his father, seems to be therapeutic. It’s clearly away for him to cope and come to terms with his demons. He plays James Lort not as a villain by any means, but as a person. He plays him as a human being, showing the good and the bad.
There wasn’t really any moment of this film that I did not like. The acting from both Hedges and Jupe were wonderful. LaBeouf’s acting was like nothing I have ever seen from him, in the best way. Alma Har’el did a wonderful job in navigating this emotionally driven script and portraying those emotions visually.
Honey Boy is emotionally raw, beautifully shot, and absolutely heartbreaking.
The film opens on November 8th, 2019.