This has been a very good year for Shia LaBeouf. The chameleonic actor — best known for his roles in the TRANSFORMERS franchise — is generating palpable Oscar® buzz thanks to his role in the heartwarming THE PEANUT BUTTER FALCON (still playing at select AMC locations). And LaBeouf shows no signs of slowing that momentum down as he now prepares to bring another worthy picture to cinemas: HONEY BOY.
Directed by Alma Har’el, HONEY BOY loosely bases its story on Shia LaBeouf’s own experiences as a child actor coming up in the industry with a physically and emotionally abusive father. LaBeouf wrote the screenplay for HONEY BOY and also plays the father in the film, which is based on his own father. So, it’s a meta exploration of his own childhood, and HONEY BOY is turning some heads.
With 50 reviews posted, HONEY BOY enjoys a 100% Fresh grade on the movie-review aggregate Rotten Tomatoes. The biggest takeaway from the HONEY BOY reviews seems to be how cathartic the screenplay is for LaBeouf, who is airing out the frustrations that came with him being a child performer and wrestling with a difficult parent.
"HONEY BOY is not a self-justifying cri de coeur or a prankish exercise in narcissism, but a sensitive, sincere portrait of a child actor's dysfunctional upbringing and its devastating fallout,” Jon Frosch wrote for The Hollywood Reporter. “Directed by Israeli-American music video and documentary maker Alma Har'el, the film flits back and forth in time, proceeding in impressionistic glimpses and glances. It also unfolds with the urgency of an exorcism, even as it bumps up against some of the constraints of what might indelicately be termed the 'abuse-narrative' subgenre."
All three performers are receiving accolades for their work in HONEY BOY. As mentioned, Shia LaBeouf plays a version of his own father, while Noah Jupe (A QUIET PLACE) plays the 12-year-old version of Shia, Otis, in the film’s many flashbacks. In a bizarre twist of meta plotting, Lucas Hedges plays modern Otis, who is really just a version of Shia while he was busy making TRANSFORMERS movies.
If you pay any sort of attention to LaBeouf’s highly publicized career, it’s all very fascinating.
HONEY BOY has been playing the film festival circuit, opening to raves at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year before playing to crowds at the Toronto International Film Festival.
The experimental drama will be playing in select AMC theatres beginning November 8, so set a reminder to get tickets to HONEY BOY as soon as they become available.