The trailer for Shia LaBeouf's new film Honey Boy is now out, and you can check it out above! After viewing the trailer, maybe you too will agree that Honey Boy could put LaBeouf into some serious awards contention!
If you didn't pick up what the trailer spells out, Honey Boy is semi-autobiographical look at LaBeouf's childhood as a would-be kid actor, and his complicated relationship with a father who at once pushed him towards his dream, but often pushed too hard. That childhood experience is spliced together with the storyline of that same kid now one of Hollywood's biggest young stars, but all the while unraveling mentally and emotionally, as he finds himself plagued by the same demons that dragged down his father.
Spelled out like that on paper, Honey Boy may seem like an actor's narcissistic pet project, but the trailer effectively illustrates why the film is gaining attention. The way that director Alma Har'el seems to weave through time and space connecting scenes of the boy's life as both kid and adult seems very well done, and the imagery is both intimate and gorgeous (think Malick, but with more heart and sensitivity).
The real intriguing here, though, are the performances at the center of Honey Boy. LaBeouf himself playing the role of the father adds an entire new level of meta and catharsis (as one reviewer points out). At once watching the former Transformers star-turned-tabloid bad boy communicate his experience while working through it is fascinating, creating the hope for "resolution" that extends well beyond the onscreen narrative, and hopefully in LaBeouf's own life. l
Few expected a comeback from Shia LaBeouf at this point, but here he is again, and the industry is surely taking notice. LaBeouf wrote the screenplay for the film in addition to starring in it. Playing LaBeouf in his childhood years is Noah Jupe (A Quiet Place, Ford v Ferrari), while Lucas Hedges (Ben Is Back, Mid90s) place the actor as a young man in the heyday (and ultimate fall) of his stardom. While LaBeouf's meta performance will be a main attraction, it should be noted that both Jupe and Hedges look to give equally powerful performances.
It's hard to say how audiences (both cinephiles and mainstream) will react to a project of this nature, since we've really never seen a project of this nature. No matter the level of reception, LaBeouf has already scored a victory for getting himself back on Hollywood's radar.
Honey Boy will be in theaters on November 9th. Here's the official synopsis form Amazon Studios:
"From a screenplay by Shia LaBeouf, based on his own experiences, award-winning filmmaker Alma Har'el (Bombay Beach, LoveTrue) brings to life a young actor's stormy childhood and early adult years as he struggles to reconcile with his father and deal with his mental health. Fictionalizing his ascent to stardom, and subsequent crash-landing into rehab and recovery, Har'el casts Noah Jupe (A Quiet Place) and Lucas Hedges (Boy Erased, Manchester by the Sea) as Otis Lort, navigating different stages in a frenetic career. LaBeouf takes on the therapeutic challenge of playing a version of his own father, an ex-rodeo clown and a felon. Dancer-singer FKA twigs makes her feature-film debut, playing neighbor and kindred spirit to the younger Otis in their garden-court motel home. Har'el's feature narrative debut is a one-of-a-kind collaboration between filmmaker and subject, exploring art as medicine and imagination as hope through the life and times of a talented, traumatized performer who dares to go in search of himself."