“Honey Boy”, the story of a child performer and his abusive dad is an original experience that we desperately need more of in movie theaters these days, and this excellent film manages to entertain, while allowing Shia LaBeouf deliver the performance of his career up to this point.
Otis Lort (Lucas Hedges), is an actor who finds himself in rehab for the fourth time because of his hard partying ways and is staring down a long prison sentence if he can’t confront the his diagnosed PTSD caused by the damage inflicted to him by his father (LaBeouf) when he was 12 years old (with his younger self played by Noah Jupe). We witness “Honey Boy” try to cope with his troubling history in an attempt to finally recover and move on.
It’s the great performances that allow this uniquely styled film to work.
LaBeouf just flies here. His father-figure character with his own troubled past, is forcing us to laugh at his crudeness in one scene while then having us curse his very existence in the next. Here we have a very damaged man who is doing what he thinks is right and can’t deliver for himself or his son. LaBeouf and Jupe share some truly wonderful two person scenes that take us through their entire relationship and hitting every emotional note along the way.
Director Alma Har’el gives us a great looking film that captures both the retro Hollywood studio scene where our characters work and the dump of a hotel where they live and try to figure themselves out. We get some truly creative shots that prevent things from getting stale.
Not a lot to pick on here. The story does jump around quite a bit and it could be hard for some viewers to keep up.
Otherwise “Honey Boy” is just wonderful and worth your time. LaBeouf, himself someone who’s had his troubles with stardom gives us everything he has and succeeds in the process.
Running time: 1 hour 33 minutes