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  • Writer's pictureStrictly Films

Honey Boy A Personal Story That’ll Make Many of Us Feel Vulnerable Grade: B

Source: IMDB

Honey Boy tells a story of a child actor named Otis (Noah Jupe), whom is living in a dump with his former rodeo clown father James (Shia LaBeouf). It’s seems unclear why Otis would want to spend his time, with an abusive father, more so mentally than physically whom also has mental health issues. But with Otis having a big heart, feeling extremely bad for his father, he helps him out by paying him to help out with his act and due to the fact he would be homeless if he didn’t pay him, due to the fact he is a sex offender as no one will hire him. Witness a unnerving tale of a complicated relationship between son and father and what effect it’ll have on Otis in the future. The Cinematography looked pretty nice, this is a well shot and solid looking film, that often times feels more style over substance, it felt more of an artsy fartsy film. The Score was solid as well, I enjoyed the simple “Duh... Duh duh dun” tune from the trailer shown, also found the soundtrack to be nice as well. The cast all in all was solid as a whole. Noah Jupe as younger version of Otis was honestly impressive, found his performance to be widely matured and honestly was really damn good. Watching this younger version of this character Otis does hit some strings in my heart, as it felt reminiscing to my own past unfortunately in some parts. How the character was written was accurate, it didn’t feel over the top or unconvincing to the point where it could be over exaggerated, it felt brutally honest of one that cares about their parent, but nothing they can do will ever satisfy them, so they take out their own frustration on us. Shia LaBeouf playing Otis’ father James was pretty damn good, Shia really loves that southern accent as this is the second time he’s used it in 2019. Shia’s comeback to acting has been honestly rewarding and inspiring, you can tell he’s come to have more passion in each and every role he’s taking now in the last few years. James is also a well written character, as this portrayal of a parent whom is not right in the head can easily be relatable to many of us that has dealt with adults in this nature. This film also features a young adult version of Otis played by Lucas Hedges, where I do find his performance to be good... I honestly found this version of this character unnecessary. Now I know what Shia meant when he wrote this story and how the director portrayed her vision as well as Shia’s... I just didn’t find this version of himself to be that interesting, as I wanted more out of the younger version of Otis. The older version of Otis is to complete the moral message of the story, but I honestly think the message can still be delivered without having to cut back to the older version of Otis, where it’s him in rehab not doing that much but letting out his emotions. My same issue can also be added on with another issue I have with this film. I would’ve liked more of younger version of Otis’ life to be explored. Like how Otis started acting? How his parents got in a heated feud, to where they’re separated? What influence Otis to stay living with his father than his mother? I would rather have those important keys in Otis’ life to be shown, than being told to the audience, I just found younger Otis to be more fascinating than coming back to older Otis in rehab. Honey Boy is a simple film, that is deeply personal to Shia’s life, while delivering a very thoughtful and heartfelt message about forgiveness and recovering from heartbreak and trauma, as I found it to be well appreciated. This film can also be used as a tool, for those that aspire from how they were treated from their parents when they were a child, to what they do later on down the road in life when they grow up. You can see Otis being inspired to smoke at a very young age, as it led him to start drinking alcohol at a young age. You see when you don’t have proper help and care in your life, you come to resort yourself into taking these substances because you believe anything you can do is not good enough, as you try to escape this pain, by resulting yourself into a habit of drinking, smoking, or even worst drugs. I mean how this kid was treated was extremely unfair and saddening, that he didn’t have the proper tools to overcome this heartache he was dealing with, like most young kids deal with every single day. The film just feels relatable to many of us and deeply personal, that you come to having to pause in your head, as you think of your own childhood and what you had to deal with. I really enjoyed the message of this film, regarding over coming past trauma and also a hint of forgiveness, it felt sincere and earned that is also rather touching. This film can be compared to last years Mid 90’s, but what Honey Boy does better is the script feels completed rather than feeling incomplete or even rushed. Despite myself not absolutely falling in love with Honey Boy, I can truly appreciate it for what it is and it did made me feel something, where I can honestly thank the film maker and writer for making a film close to home. Overall, Honey Boy is a truly solid film. I recommend this film, for those dealing with past trauma and are trying to find a release in their own darkness... This film can shine a light for you. -Mitch Smietana

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