hopscotchee: lucas hedges score: 85 rating: R time: 94 minutes
hold the phone!! (whoa. how that phrase got so old so fast) but seriously, prior to reviewing this movie we have to address an issue that matters a whole lot to us that concerns the film. originally released in u.s theatres on january 25, 2019, honey boy, has since drawn unpopular attraction given recent insight on writer and lead actor, shia lebouf's deplorable behavior and treatment against co-star and ex-girlfriend, fka twigs. pointlessly argued that he's a 'method-actor', it goes without saying that 'method' or not, it does not permit a person to cruelly abuse or treat another person badly. to fka twigs, we hear and support you!! to all of shia's victims, we hear and support you!! we believe that acting is an expressive form of art to tell a story, but crosses a line when it encourages or even tolerates an unsafe environment for anyone involved!! whether that applies to females, people of any race, the lgbtqia+ community, or whomever, we need to treat everyone with the same kindness, respect, and love we'd equally like to be treated with, especially in the film industry (hashtag the me too movement). having made our point, rather than focusing on f-ing douche bag shia lebouf for this review, we'd like to shine the spotlight on the amazing female that led honey boy, alma har'el for directing her unique creativity to portray the story of a vituperatively dysfunctional relationship between a father and son trying to make it in hollywood.
as a whole, it was evident from the start that alma had a vision of her own, tightly locked and loaded in her mind. as seen common with movies, different ideas and interpretations can sometimes get crossed as a result of having multiple people a part of a project, leading to inconsistencies or a missed messages. however, by now, just simply with the opening scene, we know that alma is way far from common. not falling into this category, her strength to stay clear minded made way for her direction to hit with full force, landing an invoking deliverance, emotionally and aesthetically (both through the movement and design of the movie). for instance, making the decision to introduce the audience to grown-up ottis, with a speedy montage right at the start of the film allowed the audience to jump straight into the movie and move along with the story, familiarizing themselves with older ottis' routinely erratic behavior with a variety of scenes, appropriately sequenced, depicting (spoiler) him on and off movie sets, doing drugs, having sex, and acting crazy. hooking her audience right away with the intriguing pace of the film's start, alma also very cleverly set up both setting and characters simultaneously by capturing the 'living-in-the-fast-lane' vibe of hollywood that ottis is surrounded by. refreshingly original and nothing less than fabulous, another baller move alma pulled at the start of the film was through the smooth transitions of time frames. beginning with ottis as an adult in the 2000s on set with the camera marker indicating the date, the stunt-explosion followed by him being pulled back from a wire seamlessly related to ottis as a kid in the 90s (the date also being indicated with the camera marker) on set getting a pie thrown at his face for a stunt, then identically being pulled back from a wire, transitioning brilliantly from the similar point of views of ottis at different times and ages of his life.
although most of the movie was in fact set in the 90s, wanting to stay in the 2000s a little longer, we will segway from alma for just a sec to older ottis, amazingly and boldly brought to life by lucas hedges. it's best to say that lucas is honestly one of our favorite actors. however, regardless, the guardedness and vulnerability that he portrayed in older ottis' recovery was truly authentic and just went to show the depth and complexity of the character and lucas' multi-faceted acting excellence!! despite not sharing the screen as frequently as his co-star noah jupe, he did a spectacular job in his role. like, sears, chills (hashtag asher angel) during the scene where (spoiler), at rehab, he goes into the woods to think and gives us that powerful, aggressively painful and emotionally tortured scream. like, whoa!! for real, the dude can play any role. we've see a number of his films and the reason for that is because of the remarkably extraordinary talent that he posses that nevertheless is displayed in this film. however, this is in no way dissing noah jupe. we love him so much too. despite the common belief that young actors aren't as good as the classic oldies, he delivered an exceptional, emotionally weighty performance, building off his co-stars to effortlessly bring together the complicated bondage between his character and his relationships in the movie. for fourteen years old, age has not stopped this boy from being anything less than a leading young man in honey boy.
anyway, back to alma, after that tad detour, one of the most notable scenes one has to consider when reviewing her directorial influence has to be the pantomime pool scene. what immense joy it is to see something like this in a film!! shot with pristine cinematography and choreographed with much thought and meaning, the detail of the entire scene of (spoiler) young ottis and shy girl acting out a game of baseball by the poolside, was incredibly bittersweet and beautiful. for one, silencing the audio for the scene's entirety created a surreal contrast to the movie's frequent loud arguing between characters, noisy movie sets, and busy streets, pivotally shifting the tone of the movie, especially with the added in metaphor seen through the precision of the character's movement relating to the alluring movement of the snake in the pool. symbolizing flow and evolution, the snake poetically ties into relation to the characters' freedom from disappointment through their pantomime. sure, we might've just analyzed the snake a little too much and this could be a stretch, so take it as you'd like, but we wouldn't put it past alma for strengthening the film with this deeper connection.
so, given the above, knowing that this movie doesn't depict a clean nor healthy relationship between a father and son, the way alma pieced it together within 90 minutes across three different characters' perspectives from two different time periods achieved a surface of transparency that was refreshingly earnest. as the story focused on a man recovering from ptsd and trauma, it was balanced between each character, honorably holding everyone accountable in the story rather than spitefully victimizing just one person out of bitter resentment, effectively not influencing the portrayal of any of the characters' greater representation. with the douche bag aside, everyone a part of honey boy aced it to the max. however, if there's one thing this movie has taught us, it's that hurt people hurt people, so if there's one thing we could ask you to take away from this review is to all do our part to embrace and encourage love, because if hurt people hurt people, then loved people love people. spread the love and tpk.
-- thanks, lucas xo