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For documentarian Alma Harels (Bombay Beach, LoveTrue) first fiction feature Honey Boy she collaborated with actor and performance artist Shia LaBeouf, working from his original autobiographical screenplay.Written in part as a therapeutic exercise during a stint in rehab, Honey Boy depicts LaBeoufs intense, chaotic relationship with his father from childhood to young adulthood, lightly fictionalised with characters renamed.Lucas Hedges (Manchester by the Sea) plays Otis Lori. A young actor making a living in action films, he is struggling with alcoholism and a penchant for self-destructive behaviour. When an accident lands him into rehab, he begins to examine the psychology that led him there, arising from the difficulties of his childhood: in particular his younger self (Noah Jupe), a budding child actor living out of motels and trying desperately to please his emotionally unstable, by turns abusive and loving father, an ex-rodeo clown and Vietnam War veteran played here, excellently, by LaBeouf himself.Potent and darkly beautiful, sometimes caustically sad - You wouldnt be here if I didnt pay you, says Otis to his father at one point - it is bolstered by searchingly honest and non-judgemental writing from LaBeouf, who portrays their relationship in all its tense and envious complexity, sensitive direction by Harel and dreamy and creative cinematography from Natasha Braier.In this intense, unsettling, modestly triumphant portrait of the artist as a young man, LaBeouf shows us not only how he grew up, but what it cost him along the way. ★★★ Washington PostPerforming a dazzling high-wire act as actor and screenwriter, LaBeouf offers an intimate and deeply involving confessional about his own life as a child star and his tumultuous relationship with his dad. ★★★★ Rolling StoneDirector: Alma HarelUSA 2019Cast: Shia LaBeouf, Lucas Hedges, Noah Jupe, FKA Twigs, Laura San GiacomoRun time: 93 mins
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