Shia LaBeouf started working on the script for Honey Boy as part of the rehabilitation process and based it on his own life and experiences with his father. The film’s title itself was his childhood nickname. It is a raw and effecting work and shows how powerful art can be when it is created from a place of pain.
LaBeouf plays the father figure in the film and his son is played by two different actors, as the young boy by Noah Jupe (Ford V Ferrari and A Quiet Place) and the young adult by Lucas Hedges (Boy Erased and Lady Bird), both do a wonderful job. Jupe is especially expressive and delivers some very heartbreaking lines.
LaBeouf’s father figure is a tormented man and bears the scars of a life without the compass that a compassionate upbringing can provide. This is a case study on how difficult the cycle of abuse can be to break and it heavily impacts the life of the son. There are numerous moments that will tear your heart out.
Removing the sensationalism that accompanies most movies of this ilk drives the human cost to the fore. It is told with a degree of believability that will leave a lasting impression. It also goes some way in helping to explain some of LaBeouf’s more erratic behaviour. The film’s ultimate potency is derived from not excusing those behaviours.
Honey Boy is currently playing in Brisbane at New Farm Cinemas – head to www.fivestarcinemas.com.au for more information and tickets.