One of the buzziest titles at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival, “Honey Boy” is set to re-enter the indie movie conversation this fall with a screening at the Toronto International Film Festival and a November release from Amazon Studios. “Honey Boy” is an autobiographical drama written by Shia LaBeouf and directed by Alma Har’el, the Israeli filmmaker who’s become a rising star thanks to hybrid documentaries “Bombay Beach” and “LoveTrue.”
“Honey Boy” stars “A Quiet Place” breakout Noah Jupe and “Manchester by the Sea” Oscar nominee Lucas Hedges as fictional versions of Shia LaBeouf. In the film, LaBeouf goes by Otis Lort. Jupe plays the young Otis, who is a child actor forced into the spotlight, while Hedges plays the young adult Otis, an addict damaged by his famous life and his contentious relationship with his father. LaBeouf takes on the role of his father, while the supporting cast also includes FKA Twigs, Maika Monroe, Natasha Lyonne, Martin Starr, and Clifton Collins Jr.
“There was definitely an urgency in the script that I think anybody that read it felt,” Har’el told IndieWire about the film at Sundance. “An outpour, you know? [Shia] was basically court-ordered to go to rehab and write his memories. That’s how I got the script, like you see in the film, while he was in rehab. And I think you can sense that in the film, too.”
In his positive review out of Sundance, IndieWire’s chief critic Eric Kohn wrote, “‘Honey Boy’ remains a fascinating cultural object and essential viewing for anyone obsessed with the actor’s bizarre ups and downs.”
Jupe earned rave reviews at Sundance for his performance as young Otis. Per Kohn, “Jupe, briefly glanced in ‘A Quiet Place,’ takes center stage in ‘Honey Boy’ as a bonafide breakout, imbuing the pint-sized figure with a fiery confidence to resist his father’s cruelty over the course of the concise story.”
While LaBeouf has made headlines as of late more for his behavior offscreen, the actor has been steadily delivering strong performances over the last several years. LaBeouf earned acclaim for his supporting turn in Andrea Arnold’s “American Honey,” which was followed by “Borg vs McEnroe.” The actor stars in “The Peanut Butter Falcon” (opening August 9) before the release of “Honey Boy.”
Amazon Studios will release “Honey Boy” in theaters November 8. Watch the trailer below.