Based on the life and times of Shia LaBeouf, the 2019 film, Honey Boy, is an honest tale that depicts the challenging reality that comes with maturing. Portraying various characters on the big screen, Shia has come to terms with a disconnect from himself in the real life to the persona from an alternative reality. Piecing together a heartfelt personal story that travels through various life stages that the actor had faced, Honey Boy is LaBeouf’s rebirth. The film marks an important transition, one that rewrites the perspective of the Hollywood phenomenon from being a self-jeopardize troubling individual, to a well-rounded actor who could do it all (even if it was obvious all along).
In this autobiographical tale, the plot centers its focus on two decades of events that tells the story. Viewers are introduced to the problematic upbringing of a young actor, Otis, portrayed by Noah Jupe who is forced to live in the shadow of his alcoholic father James Lort, who is portrayed by Shia himself. This is the first personal touch of the film, as Shia himself depicts the unfortunate reality he had to face with an abusive, and neglectful father. Otis symbolizes the troubling delicacy that is living with the cruelty of caretakers who aren’t prepared to tackle the responsibilities that comes with being a parent. Such representation furthers a necessary conversation that sheds light on the kids who question their aspirations due to the actions of their parents. With the film beginning with a preview of what occurs in Otis’s future, it also represents what happens in Shia’s career, a beloved actor turning into a tabloid favorite.
Fast-forwarding a decade later, Otis (age 22) now portrayed by Lucas Hedges, struggles to overcome with the trauma. The first glimpse viewers get of Otis is him with an overbearing alcohol addiction who then causes an obnoxious drunken altercation with the police. Otis then proceeds to tackle various therapy sessions trying to overcome his issues that stem from his addiction. All of which mirror what he had been exposed to from such an early age. With all the prominent individuals that are introduced such as the girl next door, Shy Girl played by FKA Twigs, Mom played by Natasha Lyonne, and Tom played by Clifton Collins Jr., it seems as if James is trying to fight for Otis’s attention by violently lashing out at each one of them. But that’s the moral of the story, it’s an honest, raw tale of a father and son trying to overcome the odds, with a present but not so present father trying desperately to rewrite his wrongs, and a son who all his life had to life with the make or break situation that weighs on his shoulders.
Honey Boy is a chaotic lifetime original, one that is heartbreaking and entirely too real. Utilizing the rage of his narcissistic father to fuel the premise of his career as an actor, Otis lives with the envy of his father who follows his every move just for the sake of financial dependency. For many the film is a punch in the gut, for others it’s just an ordinary fiction movie. But for Shia LaBeouf it’s cinematic therapy. A enigma of a real-life character who for viewers have no choice but to emphasize for. Shia was forced to sign a deal with the devil that resides in Los Angeles. The unfortunate reality of signing up for the role of being a celebrity is having everyone watch your every move, thus leading to stripping away the fact that stars, they’re just like us, they're in fact human. Honey Boy allows Shia to properly heal, to seek sincerity in his own Hollywood film, one that wasn’t meant for the big screen, but for the sake of his own sanity.