Otis Lort (Lucas Hedges) is a young Hollywood actor with a very bad reputation. One day, his irresponsible behavior lands him in rehab. At the facility, the star will be forced to remember his complex relationship with his father. Actor-turned-screenwriter Shia LaBeouf explores his tortuous past in this fascinating film where the line between reality and fantasy is blurred in an extraordinary way. Without a doubt, Honey Boy is the rough gem of this year’s edition of the festival: risky, personal and with a strong cool aura. This new work from director Alma Har’el confirms her talent as an independent filmmaker to follow closely.
After a long career as a child actor, Shia LaBeouf rose to fame with the blockbuster series Transformers but quickly slipped away from the path traced for him by the Hollywood industry with his fair share of controversies, arrests, and rumors. Despite his magnificent performances in Nymphomaniac (2013), American Honey (2016) and Borg vs McEnroe (2018), in 2017, he had to pull the plug on his eccentricities when he got sentenced to a rehab clinic. And it was there, secluded in that center and thanks to the psychological therapy he was undergoing, that he wrote the script for Honey Boy. A script to exorcise his inner demons, to understand himself, to redeem his abusive father and to accept a hard childhood.
Alma Har’el, the director of Love True (screened at the 2017 edition of Americana), has taken LaBeouf’s highly personal material and created an impressive film worthy of the Special Jury Prize at Sundance Festival, the Screenwriter of the Year Hollywood Breakthrough Award at the Hollywood Film Awards and four nominations at the Independent Spirit Awards. The young Noah Jupe (A Quiet Place) and Lucas Hedges (Lady Bird, Manchester by the Sea) put themselves in the young LaBeouf’s shoes while LaBeouf plays the role of his father, in a fearless performance. He channels perfectly the brutality of the former rodeo clown and Vietnam veteran who scraped out a living with his kid’s salary and dreams. With her volatile presence, artist and singer FKA Twigs stands out and brings a cool touch to the film, already impeccable thanks to the work of cinematographer Natasha Braier.
Hypnotic, direct, sensorial, Honey Boy is a brave exercise by LaBeouf who, from a terribly unpleasant place in his life, manages to pull together a story of redemption that will leave the audience stunned and wanting more.
2019: Sundance Film Festival – Special Jury Prize
2019: Independent Spirit Awards – Nominated for best direction, Best Supporting Male (Shia LaBeaouf and Noah Jupe) and cinematography
Year: 2019 Runtime: 93 min Country: USA Direction: Alma Har'el Screenplay: Shia LaBeouf Cinematography: Natasha Braier OST: Alex Somer Cast: Noah Jupe, Shia LaBeouf, Lucas Hedge Genre: Drama Language: VOSE Subtitles: Iris C. Permuy Contact: Park Circus