Hesher - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Hesher Reviews

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Super Reviewer
½ January 26, 2013
I hear movies get called a "dark comedy" quite a bit, and usually it's either not funny, or not dark. "Hesher" is exactly what a dark comedy should be. The subject matter is very serious, and in a lot of ways heartbreaking. But there are so many crazy and funny things that happen, that this movie will not bring you down. In a lot of ways this is like the tv show "Shameless". You will root for some of the characters while hating them for what they do. A quick synopsis since most people have probably never heard of this. An anarchist named Hesher(Joseph Gordon Levitt) moves in, uninvited, with a father(Rainn Wilson, who surprisingly is the the complete straight man in this) and his son TJ. TJ's mom has died in a car accident and he and his fathers lives have spiraled downward since, especially since his dad is so grief stricken that he can't even change his clothes. Hesher is rude, perverted, loves heavy metal, and loves to set fire. Basically, the perfect person to bring a family back together. Levitt is outstanding here and just gives one of his best performances. Natalie Portman has a glorified cameo, but she does great also. But the main star and best job of the movie is TJ(Devin Brochu). This kid is amazing. I'm a sucker for movies were kids are damaged and they are constantly battling their emotions. Brochu should have gotten more attention for his performance, because it's fantastic. I heard about this in 2011 and just never got around to watching it. I'm glad I finally did, and would strongly recommend people give it a shot. Not for everyone, it's a true independent movie, but it's very entertaining, and original.
Super Reviewer
½ June 14, 2010
This is the story of a dirty, dangerous, downright psychotic and unpedictable metalhead named Hesher who starts squatting in the living room of a family wrecked by grief over the death of a loved one. It's really about the bullied boy TJ, and how Hesher makes his life worse, but could perhaps be helping him, though the way he goes about doing this is just vulgar, nuts, and unconventional.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt is awesome as Hesher. It's the kind of performance that reallly allows a performer to cut loose and just do something really out there. It's a great performance, though it feels like the film is mostly relying on him to carry it. That's kinda the biggest issue with the film. It's got some great ideas and a cool concept, but the way it is done leaves a lot to be desired. The other performances are good, however, they're all underwritten, even Hesher. It would have been better had there been more backstory and depth with the characters,because they deserve to have more known about them.

I was torn on how to rate this one. It does have the script issues, and it does start to fall apart towards the end, yet, Levitt is awesome, there's some crazy stuff on display, and it's really not all that predictable at times. It can be uncomfortable at times, but it does come around in the end. I'll just give it the benefit of the doubt and give it a mild pass, though it really does need some work.
Super Reviewer
½ December 5, 2012
Super Reviewer
July 15, 2012
A stereotypical badass shows a grief-stricken family how to live again. Devin Brochu as young TJ is quite sad and broken-hearted over his mom's death, but he and the script itself don't seem to know how to handle Hesher's badassery. There's just too much "What are you doing?" and "What are you doing here?" which is like the opposite but equally annoying, "Let me explain."

There really is no rhyme or reason to Hesher's sociopathy. His actions aren't clearly to defend TJ nor to teach him a lesson. On a similar note, NaPo is kinda cute and dorky, but there's no real reason for it. Her character isn't particularly "different," nor do big-framed glasses make a dent on NaPo's She's All That face.

Rainn Wilson is surprisingly catatonic as the father though, and the penultimate scene of the three men "taking a walk with Grandma" is predictable but nevertheless moving.
Super Reviewer
July 13, 2012
three stars
Super Reviewer
July 24, 2011
The screenplay of Hesher doesn't go forward, doesn't try to know better the characters and situation of each one in the bad times which are all together. But with the actings of Levitt, Brochu, Wilson and Laurie, the dark humor and lack of sentimentalist save Hesher being a bad movie. Fresh.
Super Reviewer
½ May 21, 2012
It's refreshing to see something that doesn't try to do too much. The plain and simple approach is seldom seen or at least not seen done well.
In this one, Joseph Gordon-Levitt stars as an "anarchist" that takes up residence in the garage of a father and son's home. They are having a difficult time dealing with the death of the wife and mother, and Hesher kind of shakes things up to keep the vitality in the household he wasn't even invited into.
Hesher befriends the grandmother and even adds a bong to her medical marijuana which allows for some interesting subtext. So I'm gonna say if it happens to be on, check it out. Or if you like Natalie Portman who surprisingly plays a small role in such a random film, go the extra mile and rent it.
Super Reviewer
½ May 12, 2011
Metallica tracks!! so interesting, big advantage , but what genre would this going to be? is it a family movie, drama, violent, sentimental, uncomfortable comedy ??!! really don't know, but I kind of liked it
Bill D 2007
Super Reviewer
½ November 30, 2011
"Hesher" is a flawed but moving, refreshingly unique story about grief, love, and loss. Three male characters representing different generations (one about 13 years old, the second about 25, and the third about 40) are each suffering a terrible loss and each handling it miserably. Their lives are in a shambles.

On the rare occasion when they're able to get out of bed, they get enmeshed in fights, vandalism, car crashes, bonfires, and explosions everywhere they turn. And they are usually the cause of this violence. "Hesher" is one of the most kinetic films I've ever seen.

These three troubled boys develop an uncommon bond and help each other heal, in their completely unique way. The final sequence, which sees the three of them pushing a coffin through the streets of their town, had me in tears.

The lead character is the youngest one, played by Devin Brochu. The 25-year-old (whose name is Hesher) is played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt. Rainn Wilson, in what I believe is his first non-comedic role, plays the bereft, profoundly depressed 40-year-old.

A few female characters dot the landscape, again representing different generations. (The cross-generational aspect to "Hesher" was a real delight.) Natalie Portman plays a down-on-her-luck supermarket clerk, and Piper Laurie, most famous for her role as the demonic mother in "Carrie" (1976), is radiant as a generous, slightly senile grandmother.

"Hesher" may have its flaws, but it also has a tremendous amount going for it. The fact that it has received overly harsh reviews and been completely ignored by audiences strikes me as one of the cinematic travesties of 2011. We seem to hate unique filmmaking in America. --unfinished--
Super Reviewer
½ August 21, 2011
Ok. I guess that I am a snob of some sort....but I couldn't stand much more than an hour of this movie. Unbelievably crude. Not sure how I even made it an entire hour....
Super Reviewer
½ October 21, 2011
A truly weird, but still watchable train-wreck of a film anchored by a more than capable cast, with Joseph Gordon-Levitt once again showing why he is one of the best actors working right now. There is a lot going on here, and the film could have done a slightly better job hinting at the fact that Hesher (Gordon-Levitt) might in fact be the more violent, older alter ego of young TJ (Devin Brochu), something I was hoping they would do, but for the most part this is powerful stuff. It does push the dramatic envelope a bit too much, notably at its ultra slow-motion finale, but as said, the title character is a unique and intriguing one, and Rainn Wilson (really liking his body of work performance wise recently), Natalie Portman (nails her part and does what she can with her character) and Brochu are all really terrific. Not a film for everyone, and it is not a fun one to sit through, but it is an unpredictable vehicle careening all over the place, and for some inexplicable reason, it stays in control of its own chaos and delivers some powerful, memorable scenes as a result.
Super Reviewer
½ September 11, 2011
Hesher is not a perfect film, but it does manage to be entertaining. I'm going to give my point of view as a metalhead who's seen this film. I very much enjoyed the film for what it was, a drama comedy film with a great cast and a wicked soundtrack. Hesher, the character was written to be a stereotypical washed up metalhead with a big "fuck you" attitude, which in many ways is true about metalheads, as we don't care really trends or other crap. But, here's the thing, a lot of us metalheads possess that attitude, but we're not as messed up as Hesher is. That's why people see metalheads the way society sees it. The film expresses a view of metalheads that couldn't be so far from the truth, but at times so close too. Hesher is a metalhead obsessed with porn, metal, and setting things on fire, he meets TJ a kid who's bereaved at the lose of his mother. Little by little, Hesher helps TJ unwind and appreciate life a bit more. However Hesher does so in very strange ways. I really enjoyed this film, but will admit that it's not for everyone. Obviously people not accustomed to Heavy Metal music will assume, that it's how every fan of the music acts, but as a fan of the music, I can say that we don't act that way, and sadly this film will most likely be dismissed as trash by the mainstream because of it. The film is eccentric, but is quite good. Rainn Wilson gives an impressive performance and Joseph-Gordon-Levitt delivers a great performance as Hesher. This is a film that shouldn't be overlooked because the title character is a metalhead, but it might and it's a real shame because this film, under its metal mayhem veneer has a good story.
Super Reviewer
April 15, 2011
Sometimes life gives you the finger and sometimes it gives you...

Great Film! A dark tone sometimes comedic drama with a mix of rebellious emotional scenes would best describe this superb film. Joseph Gordon-Leviitt in a role the majority of it's fans have never seen before which I'm sure you'll never see him the same way again. This cast was incredibly talented, there were no flaws whatsover in any character present in this film. Well executed directing and fantastic story done by Spencer Susser. A very real yet rocky film that will impress alot of people.

Hesher is a loner. He hates the world and everyone in it. He has long greasy hair and homemade tattoos. He is malnourished and smokes a lot of cigarettes. He likes fire and blowing things up. He lives in his van, until he meets TJ.
Super Reviewer
May 9, 2011
"Hesher" is one of the more phenomenal ideas in filmmaking to come out this year, but even though the story is brilliantly told and the acting is thoroughly believable, it can't quite make up for some of the dialogue that can be hard to take seriously, and that may be the whole point, but there are a few scenes that just feel lazy. Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays "Hesher", a lonely low-life who hates his life and everything and everyone in it. As he uses a kid for shelter, he intrudes on a family who is already mourning from the death of a family member, which he only makes worse. His personailty is hilarious to watch most of the time, but there are moments when he goes a bit too far and it seems a bit over-the-top. This film has an insane amount of emotions jumping off of the screen, making this one of the best films of the year. I know I may be drowning this film in some negativity, but the negative points do not even come close to how many times a truly heartwarming scene presented itself. I may have expected a bit more, but this film has "unique" written all over it. This films' mature level is through the roof, it's different, the tone is fantastic, and I just plain love it!
Super Reviewer
December 30, 2009
Cast: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Natalie Portman, Devin Brochu, Rainn Wilson, Piper Laurie, John Carroll Lynch, Audrey Wasilewski, Frank Collison, Paul Bates

Director: Spencer Susser

Summary: Struggling to accept the death of his mother, T.J. (Devin Brochu) befriends Hesher (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), a twentysomething misfit who becomes both a mentor and a bad influence on the lost and awkward teen. Hesher soon invites himself to live with T.J. and his self-medicating dad (Rainn Wilson). Their bizarre relationship is tested when T.J. develops a crush on a supermarket checkout girl (Natalie Portman) who rescues him from a gang of bullies.

My Thoughts: "I think "Hesher" could be not only my favorite movie of the year, but also my favorite character ever. The film is dark, funny, sad, and a little twisted. That also would describe Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Hesher. He is brilliant in his role and in every other role he has ever taken on. I am a very big fan of his work and have seen just about every film he's been in. The film meshes the comedy and drama together quite brilliantly. Everyone was excellent in their role including the great acting by the young Devin Brochu as TJ. He just breaks your heart in this film. Natalie Portman was great in her small part as well. "Hesher" is an original, dark, disturbing film that no one should miss out on. This is the type of Indie film that puts block busters to shame."
Super Reviewer
½ September 21, 2011
I liked the look of the film and all the performances were fine, but the film just fell apart as it rolled towards the end. I think the idea of coping with grieving in such a way is actually pretty interesting, but the simplicity of the story bears it down too much.
Super Reviewer
September 16, 2011
Dark humor throughout; I enjoyed it greatly, but I wish I knew more about Hesher. I'm a huge fan of Joseph Gordon-Levitt and thought he played another great character.
Super Reviewer
½ September 13, 2011
There is just so much good going on in this film.
Super Reviewer
September 7, 2011
"Sometimes life gives you the finger and sometimes it gives you..."

Hesher is a loner. He hates the world and everyone in it. He has long greasy hair and homemade tattoos. He is malnourished and smokes a lot of cigarettes. He likes fire and blowing things up. He lives in his van, until he meets TJ.

Simply put, Hesher is an exploration of loss: a universal experience shared by the film's characters: a nihilistic head-banging arsonist named Hesher (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), a supermarket clerk with thick-rimmed eyeglasses and financial troubles named Nicole (Natalie Portman) who doesn't like being called "lady", a depressed widower named Paul (Rainn Wilson) who takes pills and sleeps all day, and a boy named T.J. (Devin Brochu) who recently lost his mother, has a crush on an older woman, and is constantly bullied at school.

There are equal moments of humor and sorrow that bring a unique balance to the film. The best way I can talk about a film is by talking about the particular moments that stood out and made it such a beautiful picture. There is a particular scene where TJ and Paul go to a self help group to help cope with their loss that is one of the most brutally realistic and painful, yet beautiful scenes I have seen on film. Seeing these people talk about their grief was like watching real people as opposed to actors. That is how good the performances are.

Aside from well-executed emotion-drenching scenes such as that one, there are also real subtle touches in the dialogue between the characters that I rarely see in other films. There is a tender scene where Nicole saves T.J. from a bully. After offering him a ride home, she confesses that the reason she helped was because she didn't want to turn on the news that night and see that a young boy was beaten to death in a parking lot. She really did it for herself so she wouldn't feel guilty later and she apologizes for being selfish like that. The irony here being that that the fact she would feel guilty about something like that makes her a good person and someone who really wants to help.

There is great acting from all involved, particularly Gordon-Levitt, Wilson, and Brochu. JGL shows hardly any emotion but there is a particular scene involving a close up where you can gradually see his eyes water as his heart breaks. Wilson continues to impress. He was great in Super and was amazingly real here as well. His heartache and apathy is devastating to watch and shows you how much pain he is in. But the best performance comes from Devin Brochu. He is amazingly good for someone that young. To be able to incorporate a character so completely and fearlessly is amazing to watch. The audience feels for this young boy and you wish someone would just come in and help him. The world is very dangerous for a child and you root for T.J. and hope he overcomes all the troubles he faces.

All in all, Hesher is a great film that is at the same time both hilarious and moving.
Super Reviewer
½ March 14, 2011
"Life is like walking in the rain. You can hide and take cover.. or you can just get wet."

An uplifting tale about a family struggling to move forward after a tragic loss. It's only when Hesher comes into the family's life to shake them out of their grief the family then can see life through new eyes. The acting is well done and the character of Hesher is very amusing. The story is decent, but it would have been nice to have more back story on Hesher. The ending of the film also feels a bit thin. Enjoyable humor and characters make this film easy to watch even if the film feels short on it's progression.
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