demi adejuyigbe’s review published on Letterboxd:
Oh, this was a painful watch.
This is a movie about the inescapable trauma you can inherit from your parents and how hard it is not to love them in spite of it all. It’s a movie about recognizing your own problems as they happen but still feeling powerless to stop them, feeling like you need them. I recognize so many of Otis’s actions and emotions in people I know, in people I’ve loved. I’ve reckoned with the frustration of loving these people and feeling like they should “just be better,” only to see a pain in their eyes that shows me that they’re trying. More than anything, it’s clear that this movie is a cathartic (if maybe too meta) exercise for Shia, but it was also a cathartic one for me. Hurt people hurt people, and while you can’t necessarily remove the pain that ripples through them to you, you can understand it. And you can forgive it.
Shia LaBeouf, Lucas Hedges, and Noah Jupe are truly excellent in this movie. I cannot understand how the hell Hedges perfectly nailed Shia’s voice and so many of his mannerisms. I think Shia’s screenplay is outstanding, but largely in the context of why it was written, which may or may not factor into his Oscar chances. I think I hope it does. Alma Har’el is a brilliant director. Shia LaBeouf says the title of the movie three times. The credits say Natasha Lyonne and Maika Monroe were in this film and I was very confused as I did not see them once.