HONEY BOY – A Review By Gadi Elkon

A truly unique project from the mind of Shia LeBeouf we are treated to a real masterwork on capturing emotion.  Israeli filmmaker took Shia’s script and has given us a powerful take on the impactful world surrounding kids in film and on TV.  Click through for my full review of this intriguing movie.

From a screenplay by Shia LaBeouf, based on his own experiences, award- winning filmmaker Alma Har’el brings to life a young actor’s stormy childhood and early adult years as he struggles to reconcile with his father through cinema and dreams. Fictionalizing his childhood ascent to stardom, and subsequent adult crash-landing into rehab and recovery, Har’el casts Noah Jupe and Lucas Hedges as Otis Lort, navigating different stages in a frenetic career. LaBeouf takes on the daring and therapeutic challenge of playing a version of his own father, an ex-rodeo clown and a felon. Artist and musician FKA twigs makes her feature acting debut, playing neighbor and kindred spirit to the younger Otis in their garden-court motel home. Har’el’s feature narrative debut is a one-of-a- kind collaboration between filmmaker and subject, exploring art as therapy and imagination as hope. 

As mentioned in the above synopsis Har’el and her team’s casting choices help form a one-of-a-kind feature narrative debut.  The rawness of Shia’s writing, Har’el direction, and the acting choices allows for a fresh nature to bisect such emotional material.  Noah Jupe really shines as he works so brilliantly off of Shia.  The whole mind-bending quality of Shia playing his father across from his younger version is really fun.   I couldn’t help but think of a film like I, Tonya or other introspective movies like Being John Malkovich.

Alex Somers musical score adds a new layer of depth to Har’el and cinematographer Natasha Braier’s vibrant visual style.  Overall the mixture of fun creative transitions throughout the short snippet of time we see is really well done.  We glimpse a story of tough mental & physical abuse, a love story, a redemption tale and also a fun look into the behind-the-scenes of film and tv making.  The supporting cast helps round out the work and performances by FKA Twigs, Laura San Giacomo and Byron Bowers stand out.

Now I would say a documentary like MIND THE GAP has more emotional resonance and truth to it than Honey Boy.  But as far as trying to create a unique vessel to tell another child actor story Honey Boy succeeds.  Overall it’s entertaining and filled with enough quality to make it shine but not bright enough to garner more than a knowing nod of approval.

For more information on how to see the film please go check out the website –

HONEY BOY

Directed by: Alma Har’el

Written by: Shia LeBeouf

Rated R

Selig Rating B

Running Time:  1 hr 34min

Drama

Limited Release: Out Now

Starring: Noah Jupe, Lucas Hedges and Shia LeBeouf.

 

The Selig Rating Scale:

A – Excellent movie, well worth the price.

B – Good movie

C – OK movie

D – No need to rush. Save it for a rainy day.

F – Good that I saw it on the big screen but wish I hadn’t paid for it.