8.5/10 Writing the screenplay for “Honey Boy” seems like a therapeutic exercise that Shia LaBeouf had to go through while in rehab/therapy to help overcome his childhood trauma, alcoholism and PTSD. Luckily for us as an audience, this experiment paid off and we are blessed with a completely sincere, tragic, emotional journey that helps us understand the child abuse that the seemingly happy LaBeouf endured throughout his entire childhood. The most obvious accomplishment this film showcases is in its acting. The three leads, Shia LaBeouf as his father, Noah Jupe as Otis (12) and Lucas Hedges as Otis (22) all knock it out of the park. Jupe is extremely impressive due to his young age and maturity in tackling such a dark role and LaBeouf is downright brave to play the man who abused him and made his life Hell for so many years. LaBeouf is getting some Best Supporting Actor hype and it is not without warrant. This film succeeds by focusing on specific periods in LaBeouf’s life and not trying to bite off more than it can chew by trying to document his entire life thus far. The film feels independent and that smaller setting is perfect because its confined manner helps you relate to young Otis who is confined to a crappy motel room with his father and trapped under the weight of his parents’ divorce and hatred for each other. The film’s soundtrack is solid and the subtle yet brilliant score wisely lets the script and performances do the heavy lifting to garner emotions. I found myself crying at one point in this film (at a scene reminiscent of a scene I cried in in last year’s “A Star is Born”) which goes to show how emotionally engaging and heartbreaking this film is. The flaws are fairly minor but the biggest flaw is that the film feels a little meandering at times, as if it doesn’t know where it wants to end up and is figuring out the ending as it goes along. I also wish we would have gotten just a little bit more information about LaBeouf’s mother because even though she is in no way the focus of this film, her absence is certainly felt. That being said, the pacing is very strong, the supporting characters like some of the people in rehab or the prostitute that Otis befriends make the most of their screen time and leave a big impact on you. It is easy to often judge celebrities or actors when we see they’ve gotten another DUI or been arrested but this film is a humble reminder that unless we know everyone’s story and what they’ve been through, it might be wiser to reserve judgement. In doing so, we might learn a little bit about ourselves as we learn a great deal about LaBeouf. With “The Peanut Butter Falcon” and now this, the LaBeoufissance is in full swing and let’s hope that he continues to overcome past traumas while simultaneously providing us with high quality films like this one.
#GrievinStevens / #AmericanHoneyBoy / #Fury2 / #ShiaWayFromReality / #BreakClownAndCry / #TheLongAndWindingRodeo