"Honey Boy" (2019) | Sam Gall Movie Review Issue #47 Gem Mint 10.0

“Honey Boy“ (2019)

Director: Alma Har'el

Writer: Shia LaBeouf

Starring: Shia LaBeouf, Lucas Hedges, Noah Jupe, FKA Twigs, Martin Starr, Byron Bowers, Laura San Giacomo

Rated: R for pervasive language, some sexual material and drug use

Runtime: 1h 34min

Genre: Drama, Biography

Country: USA

Language: English

A young actor's stormy childhood and early adult years as he struggles to reconcile with his father and deal with his mental health.

You might like this if you like: Shia LaBeouf, Lucas Hedges, Noah Jupe, FKA Twigs, Martin Starr, dramas, biographies, autobiographies, filmmaking, movies about movies, acting, redemption stories, dark family dramas

Shia LaBeouf in "Honey Boy" (2019)

I didn’t grow up watching "Even Stevens" but I’ve been a Shia LaBeouf fan ever since I can remember. From "Holes", his "Transformers" trilogy, "Disturbia" and more.

I had kept hearing more and more good things about this movie since Oscar season. I found out only later that one of my favorite actors, Martin Starr (“Amira & Sam” 2014, “Freaks & Geeks” 1999 & “Silicon Valley” 2014-2019) stars in “Honey Boy” so that was just another incentive for me to watch. He doesn't have a huge role but it's still a memorable one. Was just happy to see him in it.

Martin Starr in "Honey Boy" (2019)

Going in, I didn’t really know what to expect. Well, I expected an abusive father because I had read something that mentioned that, but wasn’t sure exactly what kind of abuse that meant. It was a fascinating relationship to watch unfold. The fact that Shia lived that way through his years on "Even Stevens" astounds me. It shouldn’t be a surprise that I’m surprised. I have NO idea what it’s like to be a child actor let alone child star. The back and forth between them and seeing where they work and where they don’t. It made me wish I could be a fly on the wall in that hotel room.

Lucas Hedges in "Honey Boy" (2019)

It’s hard to watch at times for sure but when a writer explores something that personal and unique, from something that actually happened, is so captivating to watch unfold onscreen. When you can feel the writer’s only way of processing the experience was perhaps through writing this film.

Shia LaBeouf (left) & Noah Jupe (right) in "Honey Boy" (2019)

I fell in love with every iteration of Shia. I wasn’t familiar with or expecting Noah Jupe to have so much screen time. He was so heartbreakingly good in this. It seemed difficult to even act out those scenes let alone for Shia to relive them again.

Lucas Hedges always does a wonderful job but I do a slight eye roll when I see his name pop up only because he’s been in so many things ever since “Manchester by the Sea” (2016) but he always ends up being one of the most memorable parts of any film he’s in. In particular, knowing Shia’s little quirks and kinks from having replayed his films so many times, I thought Hedges captured them right on point. It was so subtle too but it came out just enough for me to notice when he got slammed on the cop car scene.

Noah Jupe in "Honey Boy" (2019)

I’m also just a sucker for any movie that’s about making movies so I would’ve been into it regardless of the cast. It’s just a beautiful, bittersweet, human story that really hit a cord in me. Always been rootin' for Shia. Never expected to see his story told this way let alone ever get to see it. Always happy to see someone come as far as LaBeouf has.

Written by Sam Gall on 09/18/20

CGC Grading: Gem Mint 10.0

"LaBeouf's performance is nothing short of outstanding as he puts himself in his own father's headspace in a truly heartbreaking effort to better understand him, as well as grapple with the traits that they share." - Andrew Gaudlon, VultureHound

"With Honey Boy, a PTSD therapy session masquerading as a semi-autobiographical drama, LaBeouf offers a snapshot into the helter skelter ride that was his expedited childhood." - Prahlad Srihari, Firstpost

"Written as a therapy exercise by actor Shia LaBeouf, as a part of his rehabilitation program, Honey Boy is an autobiographical tale that has the queasy qualities of a Catholic confession." - Rohan Naahar, Hindustan Times

"A moving exploration of art, trauma and the connection between the two." - Adam Lubltow, Rochester City Newspaper

Official Trailer:

Watch on Amazon Prime

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