Alma Har’el’s Honey Boy is a true masterpiece.
Whether you go into this film blindly, or go into it knowing Shia LaBeouf, the tale of a child, who deals with the abuse from a parent is universal.
The emotional gravitas stems from the anger and pain felt from the beginning of the film, where Alma first introduces Otis (Lucas Hedges) at 22. He’s in the middle of another action film and he’s not quite emotionally stable. He’s drinking excessively and is angry majority of the time. The fast paced lifestyle of Otis ends abruptly when he gets into a car accident and is arrested.
The quick editing doesn’t stop there but it powers through the rest of the piece, symbolizing that anything can change in the matter of a second. People can change in the matter of a second, any emotion can rush to the surface in the matter of a second and change your perception. The direction from Alma was so masterful, she took the time to let these characters grow. The dialogue shared between them filled the screen because there was always heavy tension that was resting beneath the surface.
Yes, it was a very personal film from Shia LaBeouf, who penned the most heart wrenching and cathartic journey for his character Otis to go on with his father James. There were moments where I’d be watching the film and they were just fictional characters on screen telling this story with urgency, but then I would be reminded that Shia had to go through this as a child and it brought me to tears. Due to the fact that it was very meta, I kept going in and out of reality and fictitious waves but the emotional impact was still the same.
Noah Jupe, Lucas Hedges and Shia LaBeouf were extraordinary in this film. Shia LaBeouf emptied his soul on those pages and they were all able to bring this harrowing tale to life in this piece.
I’m truly left speechless with this film and I will definitely need a rewatch.