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#TIFF19 Review: Honey Boy (Gala Presentations)

September 13, 2019

By John Corrado

★★★½ (out of 4)

Written by Shia LaBeouf while he was in rehab, and inspired by his own troubled upbringing as a child actor being raised by an abusive father, Honey Boy is a unique and emotional film about addiction and processing trauma. The film begins with its main character, Otis Lort, as a young adult (Lucas Hedges) on the set of an action movie. When he gets injured in a car crash, and is arrested for drunk driving, Otis gets sent to rehab. The film keeps cutting back to Otis as a kid (Noah Jupe), living in a rundown motel and with his father, James Lort (LaBeouf), a recovering addict and former rodeo clown who has to rely on his son’s acting career in order to get by.

Directed by Alma Har’el, who does a good job of handling the film’s unique narrative structure as it criss-crosses between childhood and adulthood, Honey Boy is a piercing and powerful dramatic portrait of an adult coming to terms with the pain of having been abused as a kid by someone who also clearly loved them. The film is carried by excellent performances from Jupe, Hedges and LaBeouf himself, who does an incredible job of playing his father, brilliantly capturing both his cruelty and sensitivity. It’s a deeply cathartic piece of work, that clearly played a major role in LaBeouf’s own healing process.

Noah Jupe in Honey Boy

Public Screenings:

Tuesday, September 10th – 9:30 PM at Roy Thomson Hall

Thursday, September 12th – 11:00 AM at Elgin Theatre

Friday, September 13th – 10:00 AM at Elgin Theatre

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