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Shia LaBeouf describes the experience of making Honey Boy with the same phrase that defined his experience in rehab: the way in is through. For LaBeouf, there is very little difference between Honey Boy and therapy. After being arrested for public intoxication in Georgia, where he was shooting The Peanut Butter Falcon, LaBeouf attended a court-ordered 10-week rehab program. He was diagnosed with PTSD and during stream-of-consciousness writing exercises, the script for Honey Boy began to take shape. The film began shooting two weeks after LaBeouf was released from rehab.
Honey Boy is a lightly fictionalized account of LaBeouf’s relationship to his father during the time he and his dad lived in a seedy motel while the young actor starred on the Disney Channel sitcom Even Stevens. In the film, LaBoeuf’s father is played by Shia himself. As the video essay below suggests, LaBeouf’s decision to look through his dad’s eyes at one of the darkest periods of his own childhood is an incredible act of compassion.
Honey Boy is a film about a man trying to make sense of his own life by extending honesty and empathy to his family, to his audience, and to himself. It is an attempt to find peace through recognition. And inasmuch, it is a rare film where the act of creation and the final product are equally remarkable.
You can watch “Honey Boy: Shi LaBeouf’s Act of Forgiveness” here:
Who made this?
Frames of Empathy has been releasing video essays over the last year. You can follow them on YouTube here.
More Videos Like This
- Another from Frames of Empathy: how Portrait of a Lady on Fire depicts the rise of desire
- Here’s Honey Boy‘s DP Natasha Braier, on how the film’s cinematography blends reality and fantasy
- Every single Even Stevens reference in Honey Boy
- Here’s Shia LaBeouf on Jimmy Kimmel talking about playing his dad and what it was like to write the film in rehab
- Kristen Stewart interviewing Shia LaBeouf on Honey Boy while LaBeouf interviews Stewart on Seberg
- In mid-2016, the art collective LaBeouf, Rönkkö & Turner embarked on a month-long project to hitchhike the internet, in an artwork commissioned by Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art and the Finnish Institute in London
- And on that note, here’s a highlight reel of LaBeouf, Rönkkö & Turner’s talk to Oxford University’s Union Society (one student asks LaBeouf if he’s “gone off the rails”)
If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic abuse, call 911 or the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1 (800) 799-SAFE (7233) or visit thehotline.org.
If you or someone you know is seeking help for substance use, call the SAMHSA National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP(4357).