I think every time I talk about a Shia Labeouf film, I always feel like I hafta start by defending him. His off screen reputation tends to overshadow his on screen one, but I’ve always felt so strongly about his on screen ability, that I’ve stuck by him. This film gives us a glimpse into exactly who and why he is.
Shia wrote this fictionalized version of his life story, focusing about 2/3 on his days as a child actor living with his unstable father (who Shia plays) and the other third as a successful but troubled adult actor, trying to come to terms with his past in rehab. I was so absolutely moved by this film, I don’t know that I’ve ever seen something that felt so personal. So personal, in fact, that it felt like I shouldn’t even be watching it. And that vulnerability that Shia gives us is what struck me so much.
Yes, this film elicited quite a bit of sympathy, but to me that’s not the point of this film. It exists solely as catharsis for Shia. It gives him the opportunity to make sense of his past and confront his father, and I’m awestruck that he invited an audience to share in something so intimate. It also made the film so much more powerful that he took on that role. I’d watch the scenes and start feeling bad for the young kid, finding myself hating the father, except the father was played by the kid himself, so I couldn’t hate him. So layered and poignant.
My heart hurt so much by the time I walked out of the theater. I really don’t want to give away too much about the specifics, but it was so well written. The first two scenes had this beautiful parallel to them, that I knew right away I was in for something special. I don’t know if Shia has another film in him, but you can bet that the next time he writes something, I’m going to be there to see it.
Honey Boy – \m/ \m/ \m/ \m/