Review: HONEY BOY Is A Heartwarming And Cathartic Coming Of Age

FIRST IMPRESSION

Honey Boy is a very well made film about one of Hollywood's most interesting celebrities, but also serves as a beautiful look at a complex relationship.
Directing
Writing
Acting
Technical Merit
- Advertisement -

Honey Boy is a film directed by Alma Har’el, and interestingly enough, written by Shia LaBeouf, whose life serves as the basis of the film. Serving as a semi-autobiographical story about a child actor and his abusive father/manager, this can be viewed as therapeutic for LaBeouf. While this may seem like the same old story, Honey Boy stars LaBeouf as a version of his own father, and it seems the actor/activist/writer poured his hurt soul directly onto the big screen. Starting out as a child star by 14, there was a very interesting story to be told here, and Honey Boy does a great job at conveying just how much pressure comes with fame; not just for the star, but for those around the star as well.

This film would have had a serious problem conveying its emotional beats with a poor child actor. Luckily, Noah Jupe is great as Otis, a young powerhouse throughout Honey Boy, who wonderfully balances the happiness of stardom and the longing for a more supportive father figure. And at the other end of the film, an unbelievable Lucas Hedges plays an older Otis, now dealing with the PTSD of his abusive upbringing. Rounded out by LaBeouf as Otis’ father, James, he steals the show time and time again. Between this and The Peanut Butter FalconLaBeouf is shining brightly and reminding everyone just how great of an actor he can be. This couldn’t have been an easy feat for LaBeouf, but it is certainly one he handles gracefully, and most importantly, in a beautiful manner.

Shia LaBeouf in Honey Boy
Shia LaBeouf as James Lort in Alma Har’el’s HONEY BOY.

Honey Boy isn’t a film that purely condemns the actions of James. Instead, LaBeouf seems conflicted about his relationship with his father. He highlights the strengths his father had as well as his shortcomings. By no means does it justify his actions, but it certainly paints an incredibly vivid portrait of a messy relationship that LaBeouf is still grappling with. Luckily, this film must have been therapeutic enough for some form of breakthrough. After all, it’s very clear he still has admiration for his father. Repeatedly, the film shows the notion of life being cyclical, and it’s not until this cycle is broken that one’s true life can begin. Hopefully, Honey Boy is a sign that LaBeouf has broken the cycle so he too can move forward.

- Advertisement -

Lucas Hedges in Honey Boy
Lucas Hedges as Otis Lort in Alma Har’el’s HONEY BOY.

As great as this film is, there are certainly some shortcomings that dampen the overall impact. Honey Boy has a few surreal moments during its short runtime, but they are used far too sparingly. The scenes are definitely enjoyable, but they seem shoehorned in due to not being more prevalent throughout. Furthermore, it felt as if the breakthrough in the final moments of the film seemed rushed and not fully developed. However, considering that the whole film is essentially developing itself as one massive breakthrough, it can be interpreted in different ways. Finally, singer/songwriter FKA Twigs is in this film, but her character is severely underutilized and seems to be in the film for two or three pivotal scenes, but is then forgotten about.

Perhaps the greatest aspect of this film is just how much life it gets through in such a short amount of time. With some fantastic use of juxtaposition viewing childhood versus adulthood and the lives of father and son, the parallels in this film are handled miraculously. Never does the film feel rushed, and even when it slows down to revel in its emotion, it doesn’t feel overt. LaBeouf’s script should definitely not be overlooked because it’s truly an astounding debut that feels nuanced and subtle, but knows exactly how to pack a punch. At one point, James tells Otis, “A seed has to completely destroy itself to become a flower”. With the release of Honey Boy, we can only hope that LaBeouf is now ready to bloom once again.

Amazon Studios is releasing Honey Boy in select theaters on November 8, 2019.

- Advertisement -

TRENDING THIS WEEK

Negan Pisses Off The Whisperers | The Walking Dead Season 10 Ep. 6 Sneak Peek

Negan makes a bad first impression on the Whisperers, plus more from The Walking Dead. Watch more from The Walking Dead: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z9deFaIE8QM&list=PLC7EC9FB2E211A261 Subscribe to The Walking Dead on YouTube: https://goo.gl/Tu5rSx #WalkingDead #TheWalkingDead #WalkingDeadSneakPeek THE WALKING DEAD: Like The Walking Dead on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TheWalkingDeadAMC/ Follow The Walking Dead on Twitter: https://twitter.com/WalkingDead_AMC Visit The Walking Dead Official…

Mayans M.C. | Season 2: Behind the Cut: Danny Pino | FX

Duality. @TheDannyPino talks finding positive, inner confidence as an actor that lets him accurately portray Galindo. #MayansFX Subscribe now for more Mayans M.C. clips: http://bit.ly/SubscribeFX Mayans M.C. is the next chapter in the Sons of Anarchy saga. Set in a post-Jax Teller world, EZ Reyes is a prospect in the Mayans M.C. charter on the…

His Dark Materials: Opening Credits (Season 1) | HBO

Official opening credits and title sequence for His Dark Materials. His Dark Materials, a new original series based on Philip Pullman's global bestsellers, airs Mondays at 9PM on HBO. Like on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/HisDarkMater... Follow on Twitter: https://twitter/daemonsanddust #HBO #HisDarkMaterials Subscribe to HBO on YouTube: https://goo.gl/wtFYd7 His Dark Materials stars Dafne Keen, James McAvoy, Ruth Wilson…

Batwoman | Season 1 Episode 7 | Tell Me The Truth Promo | The CW

Watch new episodes on Sunday and stream Batwoman from the beginning, free only on The CW app: https://go.cwtv.com/BATgenyt SUBSCRIBE: http://go.cwtv.com/YTSubscribe About BATWOMAN: Kate Kane (Ruby Rose) soars through the shadowed streets of Gotham as Batwoman. But don’t call her a hero yet. In a city desperate for a savior, she must first overcome her own…

Kerry Washington Gets Quizzed on Black Pop Culture | American Son | Netflix

Introducing #Just10Seconds, the show where your favorite Strong Black Leads get quizzed on the best Black pop culture questions. On the first episode, Kerry Washington sits down with host, Terrell Grice, to talk Oliva Pope's first lines and everything American Son. Watch American Son, Only on Netflix: https://www.netflix.com/title/81024100 SUBSCRIBE: https://bit.ly/29qBUt7 About Netflix: Netflix is the…

Baskets | Best of Baskets | FX

Always and forever, he’s a cloon. Here’s the best of Baskets. Subscribe now for more Baskets clips: http://bit.ly/SubscribeFX Big changes are underway for the Baskets family. After 49 years, Chip decides it’s finally time to move out of his mom’s place, but leaving the nest is hard. Christine and Ken move into a new home,…

Reckoning | Dublin Murders | STARZ

Can Rob and Cassie solve the mystery that surrounds these woods? Find out when #DublinMurders premieres tomorrow, November 10 on STARZ. #STARZ Watch Dublin Murders now on the #STARZ app: http://starz.tv/WatchSTARZYT Subscribe to the STARZ YouTube Channel for more Dublin Murders: http://bit.ly/1kalhP0 Like Dublin Murders on Facebook: https://starz.tv/32tIt7s Like Dublin Murders on Twitter: https://starz.tv/36FCgcd Like…

Silicon Valley: Triathalon (Season 6 Episode 3 Clip) | HBO

I still got it, Hoover. New episodes of Silicon Valley air Sundays at 10PM on HBO. #HBO #SiliconValleyHBO Subscribe to HBO on YouTube: https://goo.gl/wtFYd7 From Mike Judge (Office Space, Beavis & Butthead) comes this tech-savvy satire about programmer Richard Hendricks (Thomas Middleditch), whose game-changing compression algorithm becomes the subject of a valley-wide bidding war. Silicon…
Alex Papaioannou
Alex Papaioannou
Born and raised in New York. I've always loved all things pop culture, but my true passion lies within film. And the only thing that I love more than watching movies is writing about them! Some close runner-ups are: food, the Yankees, and hip-hop.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here