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Movie Review: Honey Boy(2019)

MovieHoney Boy
TNS Score8.3
PlatformPrime Video
Run-Time1h 34m
CastShia LaBeouf, Noah Jupe, Lucas Hedges
DirectorAlma Har’el


The story revolves around the traumatic life of Otis, who grows up to be a famous actor but it’s almost as if he was destined to be so. Just when he gets into an accident while being intoxicated, he is forced to join a rehab and dwell upon his psychological errors. He is made to face the ghost of his past hauntings, his problematic relationship with his father, just to come to terms with his present life.


Based on a true story, the film has been written very well as we see Otis’s present state of mind and his travel, down memory lane. It’s almost brilliant, the way we’re shown the life story of this character and how the fragments of his memory come together to form one whole. The writing style compliments the thematic structure of the film. Where many films use creative ways to depict a fragment of some character’s memory, but these films still tread on a risky note where the representations can go incoherent, confusing the audience. In this case, the entire film is premised on Otis’s memory of his father but it’s been represented in a carefully structured manner, as it leaves a coherent and deep impact on its audience.


The structured plot has been delivered on the screen, beautifully well. The metaphoric and literal depiction of the blows that Otis receives in his life, that make him reach the point where he is at, have been given a brilliant direction.  The way we see our protagonist affected by the emotional and psychological wounds from his childhood, that he hasn’t been aware of until now, gives out a huge blow. The scene in which we see the old Otis going to the woods and screaming in frustration in contrast with a parallel running shot of young Otis, screaming in glee. This scene has been given such a brilliant finesse, that one can feel the heat of that moment. How childhood innocence and scars give way to adulthood frustration and ignorance. The cinematographic brilliance is visible in the scene when Otis and the next-door young girl have a moment of love and care, draped in the purity of innocent childhood. 


Noah Jupe and Shia LaBeouf in HONEY BOY Courtesy of Amazon Studios

Noah Jupe plays the character of young Otis and he has done a great job in capturing the innocence of the young boy who is being abused both mentally and physically by his frustrated father. His scene by the poolside, in collaboration with the actress FKA Twigs, is just flawless. It depicts the purest forms of love without any perversity of adulthood. It’s been given a brilliant cinematic angle with respect to their flawless performance. Lucas Hedges has delivered justice to the character of old Otis, with all his frustrations, carried trauma, and subsequent peace with the ghosts of his past. Shia LaBeouf deserves due commendation for his work as James Lord, father of Otis. His performance in the last scene is too good, when old Otis goes back to the place he was brought up and reconciles with the ghost of his past, his father, it’s a brilliant ending.


It’s a critically thematic film and thus is heavy, but is definitely a must-watch. With a perfect flow of the narrative, cinematography, direction, and screenplay, this film deserves all its critical acclamation. For the sake of multiple breath-taking scenes and a brilliant finale, you must watch it.

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