Honey Boy is the movie that demanded the most from me in 2019. While some viewers will automatically assume that makes a film into something better. That’s not always the case. However, time has been making me love this movie.
Shia LeBeouf is the kind of actor that would’ve been a bigger deal in the 1990s. Right now, it’s super fashionable to blanket people with the train wreck brush. But, there was a time when people like Vincent Gallo and Harmony Korine actually had followings among the cool set.
Now, it’s just whomever is crying about whatever on the social network of choice. So, why did I rank a movie about a teen actor working through his struggles as an adult so highly? Well, the answer is because it’s the most effective American film I’ve seen do just this.
It would have been easy for Shia LeBeouf to put the blame on Hollywood and skate off. But, LeBeouf works every inch of Honey Boy into a blend of confessional and self-examination. Plus, the psychological baggage of LeBeouf playing his own mentally abusive father speaks volumes.
While I hope that 2020 will have seen more people discovering Honey Boy, I can understand if it doesn’t happen. After all, it’s hard enough to examine your bullshit before trying to spotlight what others are suffering through. Empathy is a currency that doesn’t trade for the same value across the board.
But, I don’t LeBeouf needs people to be sympathetic to his plight. This is more of an effort for an artist to purge himself onscreen. There are people who will think he already did it with a viral YouTube video. But, those are the same people that can’t spot Deepfakes.
Adult conversations about the trash ruining our minds goes above certain intellectual pay grades. I enjoy seeing outlets like Amazon doing something pretty risky like this. But, it’s weird seeing the entertainment world getting back to a wealthy patronage system to make movies for adults.
Don’t get me wrong. I’d love to see an emotional LeBeouf scream in Megatron’s face about following his dreams. But, the world is what is and you’ve got to accept it for what it offers. Such is the life of a clown.