Berlin Film Society is excited to present an exclusive theatrical screening of Alma Har’el’s critically acclaimed feature debut and winner of the Dramatic Special Jury Award at Sundance, Honey Boy – and for one night only!
Scripted by the self-reinventive Shia LaBeouf, Honey Boy is an emotionally raw ode to his younger self, and all child actors who are forced to grow up too quickly under the limelight. Written during his time in rehab in 2017, LaBeouf worked closely with long time friend and documentary filmmaker Alma Har’el on the semi-autobiographical film. Brilliant young talents Noah Jupe and Lucas Hedges star as his younger alter-ego Otis, at ages 12 and 22, music artist FKA Twigs cameos as Shy Girl, an adolescent sex worker who Otis befriends, while LaBeouf himself braves the role of his abusive alcoholic father in the form of James Lort.
Alternating between two timelines, we see the Even Stevens and Transformers eras of LaBeouf’s early career recreated as Otis demonstrates his unwavering commitment to the screen, may it be getting hit in the face with a pie while donning a Hawaiian shirt, or being strapped to a harness and hurtled back through the air as a wrecked airplane explodes in bombastic Bay-esque spectacle. Worn out by a life of never-ending performativity governed by his domineering and emotionally-manipulative father, Otis is driven to excess and self-sabotage, reflecting LaBeouf’s own difficult time in 2008 following a car crash while filming Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen.
Otis’ complicated relationship with James sees a dysfunctional co-dependence in which the nurturing and love he seeks from his father appears to be both conditional and temporary, as long as he can provide him the financial support. Though LaBeouf’s self-portrait is never depicted as self-pitying in Har’el’s hands, and instead treated with great tenderness and compassion, offering a heart-aching portrayal of a young man attempting to reconcile and empathise with his deeply flawed patriarch. Honey Boy is LaBeouf’s own therapeutic catharsis laid bare to the audience, and by extension, to anyone who is still living under the shadow of a failed parent.
Berlin Film Society is proud to present this film in partnership with Free The Work and Lief, celebrating and supporting women in the film industry. Honey Boy will be screened on March 4th at 19:30, Babylon Berlin. Tickets are available online, and can be purchased at the door.