*This is a true story
A young actor tries to reconcile with his father after surviving a turbulent childhood.
One of the hardest things we can do as humans is be truly honest about ourselves. We always have a bias, or look ourselves better than we probably should, so when you see someone be truly unflinchingly honest it resonates. Shia LaBeouf’s new Autobiographical movie takes being honest about yourself and your life to a whole new level.
Directed by Alma Har’el (as a proud Jewish man seeing an Israeli director was beautiful) in her first feature film, we see the story of LaBeouf and his father through the eyes of a young version played by Noah Jupe, and an older version played by Lucas Hedges. His name is changed to Otis in the movie, but it is very clear that Shia wrote this in rehab about his experiences as a child actor with an extremely overbearing father. They actually frame this movie at the beginning with Older Otis starting to write the script for Honey Boy in rehab (very meta but worked). We flashback numerous times to see young Otis go through his daily work, and then have to come home and tip toe around his dad who makes him read lines until he is sick, or do push ups when he does things wrong.
Normally this would be a character study that might not hit home, but seeing as people my age grew up with Shia in Even Stevens, Holes, Transformers etc.. this story hits very close to home. Watching his downfall play out on screen means that much more when you know he is the one who was able to take an honest account of his issues with drugs and alcohol.
Stock Up – As I said in my review of The Peanut Butter Falcon Shia LaBeouf is back! As I have stated above writing this movie alone was an incredible accomplishment, but his performance in this was stunning. He channeled his father and had me on pins and needles in every scene. I honestly think he should get consideration for Best Original Screenplay, and for Best Supporting Actor at the Oscars.
Stock Up – Noah Jupe had a small role recently in Ford v Ferrari, but he had a starring role in this movie. He carried a lot of the emotional scenes and stood toe to toe with Shia as an equal. This kid is extremely talented.
Stock Neutral – Lucas Hedges is 22 years old and already has been in more good movies than most older actors. It seems like he has the best agent in Hollywood, and again he gives a great performance in this movie. I do not think the part was big enough to push his stock higher but if he keeps giving these types of performances he will get bigger and bigger roles.
*A couple other tidbits
- I thought the lack of a score in the emotional moments actually made them more powerful.
- I thought all the transitions from flashbacks to present tense all were seamless.
- The weird love story was the only part I thought was odd in this.
Alma Har’el put together an amazing film to start her promising career. Aided by a fantastic script and even better performances this is one of the most honest stories I have ever seen. It also happens to be one of the best movies this year.
*You can find all of my Movie Ratings here.