Shia LaBeouf depicts his real-life relationship with his father in this hard-hitting biopic.
You think you know Shia LaBeouf, star of Transformers, Even Stevens and Fury, but when you watch Honey Boy, you'll realise you had no idea.
This biopic was written by LaBeouf based on notes he penned while in rehab and sent to his friend Alma Har'el, who directs.
The film cuts between 2015, when Otis Lort (Lucas Hedges) is in rehab following another drink-related arrest, and 1995, when the younger Otis (Noah Jupe) is a busy and successful child star living with his father James Lort (LaBeouf), who serves as his chaperone, in a motel in California.
If you're expecting Honey Boy to be a glorified highlights reel of LaBeouf's successful career, you will be very mistaken.
This is an unflinching, warts-and-all drama depicting his tumultuous and sometimes abusive relationship with his father, a recovering addict and sex offender.
It is quite an uncomfortable watch as we see 12-year-old Shia - renamed Otis for the movie - smoking, swearing, arguing and being psychologically - and sometimes physically - abused by his dad.
The actor, making his screenwriting debut, deserves so much credit for having the courage to put the truth of his upbringing out there for everyone to see.
It is incredibly brave to reveal all of this personal information in feature film form, albeit also portraying a version of your own abusive father, recreating certain real-life conversations, and saying lines that his father once genuinely said to him.
It gives you a newfound respect for LaBeouf and makes you see him in a whole new light.
While LaBeouf does a fantastic job of portraying his dad, a troubled felon living off of his son's talents, the standout performer is Jupe.
The story is mostly told from young Otis's perspective, so audiences will connect with him the most.
He had to do some pretty adult stuff for such a young boy and his performance is so emotional and moving.
The heart of the film lies with the 1995 scenes. The ones starring Hedges as Otis in rehab didn't feel as developed, so it was hard to connect with them as much emotionally, despite his reliably good performance.
Although the film focuses on Otis, it would be nice to have had more details about his mother and what happened between his parents too.
Between Honey Boy and The Peanut Butter Falcon, LaBeouf is definitely making a career comeback after a few years of personal troubles.
This is a gritty, shocking film that boasts three impressive central performances and resonates for hours afterwards.
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