Actor Shia LaBoeuf wrote the script for Honey Boy as a form of therapy while at rehab, basing the film on his own childhood. LaBoeuf gives one of the best performances of the year in the role as a fictionalised version of his own father, his interpretation being honest and harrowing. The same can be said of young Noah Jupe, who plays Otis. He changes, seemingly effortlessly, between vulnerability and sorrow due to his father’s lack of consideration, and frustration about his living circumstances.
Otis, a child star, lives with his unstable and criminal father, who came forward as his guardian when the boy made his Hollywood breakthrough. Their complicated relationship is bound to make an impact on Otis’ youth until he’s finally forced to confront the traumas of his childhood.
Honey Boy is director Alma Har’els first feature-length film. In a masterly fashion, she handles this profoundly personal material and manages to create compassion and understanding for characters who’re far from sympathetic.