You probably haven’t heard of the movie HONEY BOY, or if you have then you probably know it’s the one that Shia LeBeouf wrote based around a younger version of him and his father. It takes place over a couple of days of them living in a ramshackle hotel sort of place while Shia, or in this case Otis, completes all of his child career Hollywood gigs. It also flash forwards to an older Otis to see how his PTSD of having to deal with his asshole father has effected his young adult life. Oh, and Shia LeBeouf plays his own father. And probably gives the best performance of his career, even though I have already said that about 3 times already with Lawless, Fury, and The Peanut Butter Falcon. Lucas Hedges of course delivers as the adult version of Shia/Otis, but the scene stealer (when LeBeouf isn’t on screen) is the kid that plays the younger version, the kid that you might’ve just seen playing Christian Bale’s son in Ford V Ferrari, Noah Jupe. Hopefully he isn’t having a stressful and sad childhood like Shia did. The whole point of this very short Thanksgiving review is: is the movie as sweet as honey, or more of a pie in the face?
Not really either. It’s half way decent but a lot of parts are really hard to watch because of the awful way Shia’s father behaved. I’d probably never watch this movie again, but I have a feeling writing this film, and then starring as his own abusive father was really therapeutic for Shia to finally let himself heal and focus on the positives of the rest of his life and career. Also, it turns out Shia is a very decent writer as well as an actor and I look forward to seeing other projects that he happens to write a screenplay for, as I see fantastic future potential. I did like the vagueness of some of the screenplay, going out of its way to avoid saying what projects that Shia is working on both young and older where he’s having these drinking, drug, and behavior problems, but little robot noises and an explosion set, a set where he’s in old prohibition clothes, and a fantasy sequence talking to a television dad actor obviously points to his time during Transformers, Lawless, and Even Stevens.
This movie is basically in existence to explain his weird past behavior and a very solid warning to those that think fame is everything, it isn’t. I feel really really really bad for what Shia had to go through and can only hope that getting all this out gives him some peace. He’s fantastic in it. Absolutely fantastic. Everybody is. The younger Otis/Shia has some really remarkable scenes with this much older young adult that lives in the same shanty hotel (I didn’t know if she was some kind of prostitute but it was hinting she was) that is borderline romantic and almost goes into statutory rape territory, but it stays platonic. They just really need each other to get through life. The film is directed Alma Ha’rel, her first feature length, and instead of going all independent shaky cam, she combines it with some truly remarkable static shots proving that she is a force to look out for in future projects. Honey Boy is a decent little movie that isn’t just therapeutic for Shia, but a word of warning for people that have too many fantastical thoughts about fame, but even at a short 93 minutes, it may be too hard for some to experience more than once.