HONEY BOY – Review by Susan Granger

Inspired by his own childhood, actor Shia LaBeouf wrote this memory drama in which he plays James Lort, a thinly fictionalized version of his own father. Trained as a rodeo clown, he’s a bitter, divorced Vietnam War veteran and recovering addict who’s emotionally abusive to his 12 year-old son Otis , who works as an actor on television.

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HONEY BOY – Review by Susan Wloszczyna

In Honey Boy, Shia LeBeouf takes ownership of his own screwed-up childhood back when he starred on a Disney Channel series and splashes it on the big screen in a form of performance therapy. This biographical shrink session, based on a script he wrote as part of his rehab, is a far cry from his Transformers sci-fi blockbusters that get a skewering in the opening moments. On top of that, he makes matters even more interesting by playing his own shiftless, unstable and self-absorbed abusive father – probably the most honest acting he will ever achieve as he attempts to shoo away the demons that haunt him.

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HONEY BOY – Review by Loren King

Alma Har’el, best known for the 2011 documentary Bombay Beach with its intimate moments of beauty in a gritty story about life on the margins, must be credited for the searing, memory-soaked urgency of Honey Boy, her fiction directing debut. What could have been a maudlin melodrama about family dysfunction is instead, despite the heartbreaking and disturbing abusive father-son relationship at the center, a haunting and lyrical memory piece.

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BEN IS BACK – Review by Diane Carson

With the tragic opioid epidemic, the topic of rehabilitation and a family’s dealing with a struggling member certainly merits cinematic attention. But dramatizing the issue with sensitivity, insight, and honesty presents unique challenges. All the more credit, then, to writer/director Peter Hedges for what he achieves in Ben Is Back, starring his Oscar-nominated, real-life son Lucas as recovering addict Ben.

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