Review: With a script by Shia LaBeouf, ‘Honey Boy’ is a personal triumph.

I’ve been watching Shia LaBeouf since he made his Disney Channel debut on Even Stevens. A kid so talented he was scooped up by Hollywood and exploited like many a young child star. We’ve seen him shine and fall from grace and make some of the wildest career moves. But remove that veneer and you have a genuine artist.

Honey Boy is LaBeouf’s screenplay. It tackles his tumultuous upbringing without a real sugarcoating. The verbal and emotional abuse he had to endure must have been astronomical. It all makes sense when you see the scenes between him and Noah Jupe. Their on-screen dynamic is effortless. Lucas Hedges, who I have had my eye on since Zero Theorem, is phenomenal as the 2005 version of Otis. His combative attitude seems like second nature and I can easily see LaBeouf saying and doing the exact same things. Hedges makes you feel like he did one hell of a character study of his creator. Noah Jupe as young Otis is a breath of fresh air. He is something special. He exudes innocence. LaBeouf is playing his father. He is vulnerable, scary, aggressive, and heartbreaking. You can never say this man isn’t spectacularly talented.

Director Alma Har’el has created one of the most satisfying films of the year. The way she handles LaBeouf’s material is beautiful, quirky, fun, and heartfelt. This script is catharsis on film. The juxtaposition of scenes in 1995 and 2005, with stunning lighting and cinematography, is wonderful. LaBeouf has opened every wound and laid it all out. It’s gorgeous misery and you’ll want to remain present for it. Honey Boy is a triumph.

Honey Boy opens in theaters Nationwide today, Dec 6th.

Watch Now: Special conversation with Oscar-nominated director, Steve James about ‘Abacus: Small Enough to Jail’

VERA SUNG, JILL SUNG AND FATHER THOMAS SUNG IN THE SAFETY DEPOSIT BOX DEPARTMENT OF THEIR BANK IN A SCENE FROM OSCAR-NOMINATED “ABACUS: SMALL ENOUGH TO JAIL” DIRECTED BY STEVE JAMES. PHOTO COURTESY OF PBS DISTRIBUTION/KARTEMQUIN FILMS

Last year, Liz reviewed this last much-needed documentary last November for DOC NYC. Available now on Amazon Prime. In any case, you can view a conversation with the director at 12:30 pm at https://www.westdoconline.com/steve-james-episode-6-live.

  • NOMINEE – STEVE JAMES, OUTSTANDING DIRECTING DIRECTORS GUILD OF AMERICA AWARDS
  • WINNER – BEST POLITICAL DOCUMENTARY CRITICS’ CHOICE DOCUMENTARY AWARDS
  • THREE NOMINATIONS CRITICS’ CHOICE DOCUMENTARY AWARDS
  • NOMINEE – BEST DOCUMENTARY NATIONAL BOARD OF REVIEW
  • NOMINEE – BEST DOCUMENTARY CHICAGO FILM CRITICS ASSOCIATION

Abacus: Small Enough to Jail tells the incredible saga of the Chinese immigrant Sung family, owners of Abacus Federal Savings of Chinatown, New York.

Accused of mortgage fraud by Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr., Abacus becomes the only U.S. bank to face criminal charges in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis. The indictment and subsequent trial forces the Sung family to defend themselves – and their bank’s legacy in the Chinatown community – over the course of a five-year legal battle.

New to Watch: Amazon Studios Original Documentary ‘Author: The JT Leroy Story’


**Amazon Studios** Original Documentary AUTHOR: THE JT LEROY STORY will premiere on Amazon **Prime Video** February 16th

**Written and Directed by** Jeff Feuerzeig **Featuring** Terry Gross, Laura Albert, Winona Ryder, Courtney Love and Madeleine Brand

**AUTHOR: THE JE LEROY STORY** **is Certified Fresh at 82% on** Rotten Tomatoes!

On January 9, 2006 The New York Times disrupted the literary world when it unmasked “it boy” wunderkind JT LeRoy, whose tough prose about a sordid childhood had captivated icons and luminaries internationally. It turned out LeRoy didn’t actually exist. He was the creative expression of 40-year-old San Francisco former phone-sex operator turned housewife, Laura Albert. Author: The JT LeRoy Story takes us down the rabbit hole of how Laura Albert breathed not only words, but life, into her avatar for a decade.

110 Minutes | Rated R

For more info:

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