As most of you know, I am finishing up my junior year in college and I recently subscribed to Amazon Prime (feat. student discount!) and found this Amazon Studio’s film Honey Boy, directed by Alma Har’el, written by and starring Shia Labeouf. LaBeouf originally wrote the script as a form of therapy while in rehab in real life. The movie is based on his childhood and his relationship with his father. Honey Boy follows Otis, an actor who has an extreme alcohol problem. He crashes his car and gets into a violent, drunken altercation with police. He is forced to go to a rehab facility, where his counselor tells him that if he leaves the facility before they say he is ready, the court will send him to prison for his violent offenses. The doctor tell Otis that he has PTSD, which he denies repeatedly, but she encourages him to look into his past through exposure therapy. Otis (Noah Jupe) remembers working as a child actor, who is accompanied on set by his father, James (Shia LaBeouf), a former rodeo clown. James is four years sober but clearly on edge and unpredictable, manic and aggressive. The two live in a meager motel complex, amongst prostitutes and loud neighbors. The film bounces back and fourth between “present day” Otis in rehab, resisting treatment and having nightmares and flashbacks to his childhood, focusing mostly on his rocky relationship with his abusive war veteran father, who is enrolled in alcoholics anonymous.
According to multiple google search engines, the movie was filmed in just 19 days. This movie is a wonderfully-acted and emotionally driven tale of struggles, addictions, and finding inner peace. Shia Labeouf breaks the fourth wall toward the end of the film suggesting Otis (the character playing Shia) has made peace with his father (played by Shia himself) in adulthood, and finally released the grudge and anger he had built up toward him. When addressing his father, he tells him “I’m going to make a movie about you” in the movie. Brilliantly written and well executed movie. Highly recommend. 9/10