Honey Boy follows Otis (Lucas Hedges) as an actor finding himself stuck in rehab and is diagnosed with PTSD. This diagnosis seems come from the time when he was a young child actor (played by Noah Jupe) living with his abusive father (Shia LaBeouf).
Honey Boy is an incredibly personal film since it is actually based on Shia LaBeouf’s childhood as a young Disney Channel star. And I find the film to be a bit hard to describe. This is definitely not a fun story, though I did enjoy the little Easter eggs from Even Stevens – a show that I grew up watching. I found that this film felt like a therapeutic exercise from LaBeouf.
You can tell that LaBeouf and his father, a once famous rodeo clown with a pet chicken, have an incredibly complex and contentious relationship, and he has never gotten over that. LaBeouf has had a prolific life in the public eye since his early childhood stardom and now that the world knows some of ugliness behind that, it sort of explains some of the weirder things he has done whether it’s wearing a bag on his head or his “Just do it” viral video.
Noah Jupe is absolutely fantastic here. He has been showing up in more and more bigger movies, but this is his best performance yet. He captures the stress of being the one taking care of his father, but not having the power to stop him from doing stupid or criminal things. Not to mention the walking on eggshells and fright that comes across on screen once his father is unhinged. Lucas Hedges was also good, but he did not have as much to do since his role was more retrospective while he was in rehab. This must have been a tough role for LaBeouf to play since he is essentially playing his abuser. But he also does a fantastic job that showcases his father’s oddity, ego, and anger.
Overall, Honey Boy has great acting and shows incredible courage from LaBeouf for sharing his story. It feels like I know and understand Shia LeBeouf better as a person now, whereas in the past, I thought he was a pretty decent actor who was weirdo. However, the film is a bit too intimate for me, there are not any boundaries set between the characters and the audience, it felt like I was witnessing something too personal at times that I was not supposed to be privy to.
I give Honey Boy a B.