Honey Boy (2019) Review


A young actor who has a very tough childhood is seen through different stages of his life and eventually coming to terms with the strain this has had on his mental health.


Honey Boy is written by Shia LeBeouf who has based it on his own life and experiences. With him also taking on the role of a version of his own father which must have all been rather difficult at times. But I can also imagine that writing this helped with his healing process of different things that happened to him.

Within the film we have Otis at 12 years old and 22 years old. Changing between the two different time frames as at 22 he is about to fully realise that his childhood was not the best and he is still very much suffering from that. Ending up in rehab to recovery which in real life was the moment LeBeouf actually started writing Honey Boy!

James is a truly horrible character and not someone you want to see raising the rising star. The cutting and horrendous things he says to him really does make it difficult to watch, as no child deserves that type of abusive behaviour towards them. He was a former rodeo clown and a felon. A particular scene that was heartbreaking was Otis actually asking him if he was allowed to leave the country due to the nature of his criminal record. The shouting phone call that followed was very haunting.

It has certainly made me think about Shia LeBeouf in a very different way and in all honesty I feel that is a good thing considering he has had a bad reputation at times. I think this will give everyone more of an insight into how his life has been, not that it excuses some of the things that he’s done but still important.

The performances are truly outstanding and I think the ultimate scene stealer and top performance comes from Noah June, who really put in a very mature performance for such a young actor. Given some very tough scenes as well which he more than nails each and every time. He certainly is one to watch for the future having already impressed with a few other film and tv roles. Lucas Hedges doesn’t get as much screen time but we already know he is a top talent and that is shown again in this one.

Shia LaBeouf taking on a version of his own father who was very abusive towards him is certainly not an easy task and something that is quite well frightening to watch, as when you realise that makes it even more haunting. A very tough role as the character obviously is not likeable at all, plus it makes you wonder what exactly had happened to towards him and then him taking on that role and saying some of those horrible words he heard himself. It certainly adds may more layers to the film. A very tough watch at times but still enjoyable due to the high level of performances and impressive writing.

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