Honey Boy review:  Shia LaBeouf compels you with engaging thoughts

Honey Boy review:  Shia LaBeouf compels you with engaging thoughts

When Shia LaBeouf tells you a story, it is vastly different from the pastel shades of Woody Allen or Wes Anderson, but neither could you put it in the same place as Martin Scorsese. Naturally, it has a place of its own. In 2017, director Shia LaBeouf was on the news for all the wrong reasons. He was arrested for berating a policeman after which he was ordered into rehab, from where he reportedly wrote the screenplay of Honey Boy, where he reflected the troubled relationship he shared with his father. When director Alma Harel received the script after which the cast was decided and during the process of filming, LaBeouf decided to be the bigger man and end his seven-year-long troubles with his father. The film thereby only holds strong importance if you are aware of the history it brings along with itself, mainly involving personal life. The film begins with 22-year-old Otis who finds himself on a movie set and the next moment he is custody. After a brief squabble with the cops, Otis finds himself in the rehab where he is advised to avoid reminders of his traumatic past to battle with his post-traumatic stress disorder. From what…. The flashback begins and thereby parallelly brings in a different set of continuity that begins in a non-linear fashion, dating back to 1995. Otis again is on the movie set, and the next moment he finds himself in a dark hotel room. He is under the guardianship of his father, played by LaBeouf. Otis is 12 years old and has no idea that a different future is about to set in. The audience knows but he doesn’t. It remains difficult to distinguish James as a father. Is he abusive? Tough? Or just an angry man? After all, it is important to remember that the director might just be biased about his idea of his father. Maybe he is just another man who was present at the Vietnam War and thereby is suffering from a different trauma of his own. Shia LaBeouf remains biased. He cackles at racist jokes and deliberately attempts to verbally fight with his neighbours, but one thing that constantly keeps us reminded is that this is the idea of a father, a man, from a son who has never really looked up to him as a father figure. According to the script, you would easily want to tag this man as an irresponsible, racist, American, someone US President Donald Trump would be proud of, but as an unbiased observer who knows the story of the son, it is difficult not to lose perspective.   In many ways, Honey Boy remains semi-biopic. Or if you want to treat it like a cinema, maybe it explores the strained relationship between a father and a son. The characters here do not seek easy redemption, so if you are a Bollywood fan this film is bound to make you feel extremely uncomfortable. Remember the time when you were unable to accept Shah Rukh Khan for his portrayal in Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna, and Chalte Chalte, mainly because he was no longer the arm-spreading lover for Naina anymore? There’s a heavy amount of ugly behaviour and you will be unable to look past it because somewhere you realise where the reality has managed to get reflected. But it cinematographically shows the grooming of a psychologically healthy person, and maybe for a completely different reason, this film might stand a chance to socially make us aware of mental health. Rating: 3/5 stars  


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