Shia LaBeouf is having a moment in 2019. After a career as denoted for his actions off the screen as they are for his scenes in it, LaBeouf has come swinging out of the festival circuit with stunning, immersive work. Opening in limited release at the moment is his pitch perfect turn as a North Carolinian good ol’ boy on an unexpected odyssey in The Peanut Butter Falcon, and right around the corner is Honey Boy. By far one of the best movies we saw at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year, Honey Boy is a remarkably bold glimpse into LaBeouf’s memories of his childhood in which he plays his own father.
The film won a Special Jury Prize at Sundance and is one of the most hotly anticipated movies for the end of the year. Here’s what you need to know.
Honey Boy Trailer
In the below red band trailer, LaBeouf plays James, the former professional clown and current manager for his child star son Otis (Noah Jupe and Lucas Hedges in different scenes).
Honey Boy Cast
Honey Boy is an obvious passion project for Shia LaBeouf, who wrote the screenplay to the film based on his own experiences growing up as the star of Disney’s Even Stevens while learning to act from his father Jeffrey Craig LaBeouf, who helped manage his career. Honey Boy creates a fictional mirror of this with LaBeouf now playing a character named James, who is the overbearing father of Otis. Blue collar, yet hippie-ish, it is a mesmerizing performance that is complemented by the two young actors portraying Otis.
Acting against LaBeouf is Noah Jupe (A Quiet Place, Wonder), who portrays Otis at age 12 after the lad has had early success on an unnamed 1990s sitcom that plays to his father’s skills as a retired clown/carnival worker. We also visit Otis as a young adult where he is played by Lucas Hedges (Manchester by the Sea, Lady Bird). The film also stars Byron Bowers and Laura San Giacomo.
Honey Boy is helmed by Israeli director Alma Har’el, who is making her debut in narrative fiction after directing documentaries that include 11/8/16 and LoveTrue.
Honey Boy Release Date
Honey Boy opens in theaters on Nov. 8.
Honey Boy Story
The film opens in 2005 where Otis (Lucas Hedges) is the star of an unnamed action blockbuster spectacle that has an eerie resemblance to the Transformers movies. Yet despite being a movie star on the rise, he also suffers from crippling self-destructive behavior and heavy alcoholism. After a violent run in with the police, he finds himself at a celebrity rehab center where he is forced to reluctantly revisit his unusual childhood (where he is then played by Noah Jupe), and the period he lived alone with his father (Shia LaBeouf), who is also an alcoholic. With his father also being his manager and acting coach for an unnamed ‘90s sitcom, theirs is a relationship always being negotiated.
The official synopsis is below:
A child actor works to mend the relationship with his hard-drinking, law-breaking father.
Honey Boy Review
Below is an excerpt to our Honey Boy review.
Shia LaBeouf is aware that his off-screen reputation and media narrative is bigger than many of the films he plays in. This is perhaps one of the smaller reasons he sought creative reclamation in Honey Boy, an intimately personal film he writes and stars in, and which acts as a poignant self-portrait. It is also a wildly inventive film for both LaBeouf, the actor, and Alma Har’el, the director. Making her first narrative feature after several documentaries, she pulls from LaBeouf’s own truth to create a bittersweet fiction bathed in authenticity, which is all the more impressive since LaBeouf refuses to actually portray himself.