( Editor’s note: Spoilers have been removed to keep you in the dark. You need to see this film for yourself, it’s great.)
Childhood movies are no stranger to Hollywood. Over the years, there have been great films about childhood and many about filmmaking. Honey Boy combines the two: a film with a child’s view of the film industry and that unique angle makes the film very unique which has the makings of an Oscar or Golden Globe.
Honey Boy is a very personal film, one that has roots into Shia LeBeouf’s own personal life and in many ways, Honey Boy is his way to let out his frustrations and anger that is based on his confusing and chaotic life as a child actor before hitting the big league.
As Honey Boy opens, we see Otis staring into a camera, saying, , “No, no, no, no, no,” before being thrown back into an exploding fireball. What we’re witnessing is a piece of movie magic that is deconstructed as the wires, stunt coordinators and special effects come into view, ultimately its pretending. In a very lurid montage, we see things happen to Otis where he spins out of control and enters a facility where his powers are now stripped away and he is at the mercy of reality and must confront the discomforting truths that have made him an egomaniac with an inferiority complex.
We then transport back in time where the film takes place in majority of the time, we go back to Otis when he was 12 who is starring on a television show and lives in a shabby Los Angeles apartment with his father, James, a bespectacled free spirit whose rebelliousness gives way to hostility where he tries to exploit his own son while at the same time cheering him on.
The film juggles between Otis’ younger days and his therapy, Honey Boy begins to take shape as something far deeper than Shia’s therapeutic release. Directed by Alma Ha’rel, Honey Boy tells a very deep and personal story of how children can navigate the world and eventually bypassing their parents without roasting them, the film is very deep and personal and is very specific and piquant, revealing the tactics and physicality of some of these movies. The film shows us how Shia grew up and what it cost him, even if it is inspired by his life and not an autobiography of what he went through when he was a child actor.
Do not miss this film.