Layla (Jessica Sula) is new to England. The young and sheltered fifteen-year-old has left the island life of Trinidad with her grandparents to live with her mother in Brixton.
Layla is either ignored or verbally abused by her young mother (Naomi Ryan), who views her with alternating indifference, annoyance, affection, and jealousy. Her new associates are even worse, belittling Layla over her clothing and lack of style. The only friend she has is Shaun (Ntonga Mwanza). But Layla wants girlfriends, and with a fresh makeover, she attracts the wrong sort, as well as the attention of Troy (Lucien Laviscount). Lonely and hungry for affection, Layla ignores the red flags and falls for Troys empty charms, leading her down a path of self-destruction which has tragic consequences for those who truly do care about her.
Honeytrap is a vital glimpse at the ramifications of multi-generational abuse, the culprit in this case being Layla’s grandfather. We see her mother simultaneously as a woman who wants to recapture her stolen youth, who doesn’t want to be a mother, and who occasionally displays affection akin to that of a big sister towards Layla. The warped relationship of Layla and her mother set the tone for Layla’s dysfunctional relationship with and acquiescence to abuse from Troy.
This isn’t your average teen drama but much of it highlights the fate that can often befall even the prettiest girl, should she have no support and guidance, and a fragmented sense of self. Self-esteem, though belonging to a person, is something that is often very fragile, and very easy for others to chip away at at. The love, or lack thereof, that we receive from our parents can haunt every decision we make, for better or for worse.
I give this one 4 stars.