Sunday, February 9, 2020

Honey Boy

Movie Name: Honey Boy
Year of Release: 2019
Director: Alma Har'el
Starring: Shia LaBeouf, Lucas Hedges, Noah Jupe, FKA Twigs, Laura San Giacomo, Clifton Collins Jr., Maika Monroe, Byron Bowers, Martin Starr, Natasha Lyonne, Mario Ponce
Genre: Drama
Score out of ten (whole numbers only): 6
View the Trailer

Synopsis and Review:
"Honey Boy" which made its debut at the Sundance Film Festival of 2019, has steadily winning accolades since its debut. The film, written by and starring Shia LaBeouf, follows the story of a child actor by the name of Otis. We witness Otis and his ongoing relationship with his father, when he's 12 and already working in Hollywood, while also witnessing the grown up Otis, spiraling out of control, having issues with drinking and drugs, forcing him to go to rehab, in order to avoid jail time. 12 year old Otis, forces himself to deal with a father that has substance abuse problems, and who is unable to look past himself, and actually have the heart and ability to love and support him properly. Adult Otis, is carrying all his childhood pain, which makes him viscerally violent towards everything and everyone who comes in touch with him. As the film goes, we witness the therapists trying to unlock the path to healing for adult Otis, while the young Otis, while attempting to stay afloat, is also desperately trying for his father to love him and be a part of his life.
"Honey Boy" is the first feature film by Alma Har'el, after a career in documentaries and shorts. It's a film that uses Shia LaBeouf's autobiographical screenplay to tell a story about fathers and sons, and how the choices of one impact the future of another. It's an unflinching look at a father figure, a deeply flawed one, who is ultimately incapable of loving anyone, someone plagued by self doubt and self worth issues. A person whose choices, and whose lack of emotional maturity, end up sabotaging the life and growth of a young boy, who wants nothing else but be loved, nurtured and protected by his father figure. The film manages to be a good showcase for the lead actors involved, even if at times the father figure almost topples the balance of everything taking place onscreen. The supporting characters, in order to also give more vibrancy and honesty to the narrative, deserved a bit more developing, but they do end up providing a fair context to understand the universe in which Otis, the young narrator, lives in. It's a film that captures the burden of parenthood and how adulthood copes with some painful legacies. The performances from Shia LaBeouf, Lucas Hedges, Noah Jupe and the underrated Laura San Giacomo, are memorable and resonant, and for that alone, the film is worth watching.