Review: Honey Boy
You're here because he pays you.
Otis is an actor. We split time with him at age 12 (Noah Jupe) when he's living with his father James (Shia Labeouf) in a seedy motel while being a successful child star. We also see him at 22 (Lucas Hedges) in rehab for alcoholism and trying to process all that damage his father has done.
Shia LaBeouf is clearly an actor with a lot of baggage. Most of it coming to light within the last few years, but he took a step back and wrote this story about his life in order to come to terms with it all. Honey Boy is essentially Shia's therapy session. And what a session it is. It had to have taken a lot of courage to write this, and a lot of energy to get it produced. Director Alma Har'el shoots in an almost curious manner. Like we're not sure if we should really be there watching Otis go through these things.
Noah Jupe is turning out to be a solid young actor. I loved him in this. You want to reach through the screen and hold his hand and give him the stability that he deserves. Lucas Hedges doesn't have as much to do as Jupe as we spend less time with him, but Hedges is always reliable when he's needed to cry or be angry. He did a good job of coming off like early 20's Shia. As for Shia himself, stepping into the role of his own father, that can't be easy. You can tell he gives this his all, and it will be a crime if he doesn't get an Oscar nomination. He's always been a strong actor, and this is his best performance.
Much like therapy, it can feel disjointed and messy at times, but it feels very intentional. The film zips by at a brisk 94 minutes and even though we know where Shia the actor is now, I couldn't help but be a little sad we had to say goodbye to Otis so soon.
Memorable Quote: "Dolly Parton has her shit together." - James (Shia LaBeouf)