Shia LaBeouf is a fascinating human being. From his Disney upbringing to blockbuster leading man and actual cannibal, there is no one quite like the man. It's strange to think, but my generation really did grow up with him from 'Even Stevens' and 'Holes' as kids, his 'Transformers' films as tweens and then his crazy experimental artworks from 'Just Do It' to him watching all his movies live-streamed on the internet, he has always been there. We as a society are quick to judge - especially celebrities - and LaBeouf has been victim to this many times, but sometimes we need to look back and listen to someone's story to really understand who they are.
Based on the script LeBeouf wrote in rehab about his relationship with his father (with Shia renamed Otis), 'Honey Boy' documents two points in his life: 1995 (played by Noah Jupe, 'Ford v Ferrari', 'A Quiet Place'), living at a motel with his former rodeo clown father (Shia LaBeouf, 'The Peanut Butter Falcon', 'Fury') as Otis starts to break out as a young star while also dealing with a father who is violet and unloving. We also see Otis (Lucas Hedges, 'Boy Erased', 'Lady Bird') in 2005, now a big actor working himself into an extreme alcohol problem, forcing him into rehab, and for the first time ever, facing his past.
What LeBeouf achieves in 'Honey Boy' is something to shower with non-stop praise; he has taken some of the darkest times in his life and turn them into this artistic masterpiece. 'Honey Boy' proves the power of cinema and how it can be a truly therapeutic experience.
The performances from all three leads are fantastic. LaBeouf plays his own father and doesn't hold back, presenting a truly broken and confused man. He's unsure how to love his own son, but also extremely abusive. Jupe as a young Otis is incredible, feeling trapped living in a motel room with an acholic father, but wanting to be an actor and also starting to go through adolescence and learn who he is. Once again, Hedges really proves himself, and although he gets the least amount of screen time, the scenes of him in therapy are filled with high emotion and are very confronting.
What LaBeouf achieves in 'Honey Boy' is something to shower with non-stop praise; he has taken some of the darkest times in his life and turn them into this artistic masterpiece. 'Honey Boy' proves the power of cinema and how it can be a truly therapeutic experience.
The beauty of 'Honey Boy' is how weirdly relatable it is on so many levels. I think it's safe to stay most of the audience didn't live with their failed clown father in a motel while starting an acting career, but in both the writing and directing the story is so accessible to many audiences. We can see ourselves in Otis without actually having lived his life.
The film also regardless of what you know about LeBeouf - whether you've seen every one of his films or just seen him on a GIF, his story is truly something everyone should experience.
Both LeBeouf and first-time director Alma Har'el have created a truly moving piece of cinema that is an experience everyone needs to have. I can't wait to see what they do next... let the Shiaissance begin!