The trailer for this is so great. Old thrashing Metallica chords cut with brief scenes of a long-haired Joseph Gordon Levitt doing reckless things and befuddling a man and his son. It tells us almost nothing but immediately made me want to see it.
The trailer for this is so great. Old thrashing Metallica chords cut with brief scenes of a long-haired Joseph Gordon Levitt doing reckless things and befuddling a man and his son. It tells us almost nothing but immediately made me want to see it. The film becomes so much more than the trailer, but I almost wouldn’t have cared if it didn’t.
In the film Hesher, Paul Forney (Rainn Wilson) and his son T.J. (Devin Brochu) are mourning the loss of the wife/mother from a car accident. They are staying with Paul’s mother (Piper Laurie) in her house during this time of grieving. Neither of them are dealing with the loss well. And to make matters worse, T.J. gets bullied at school. Paul has chosen to use prescription medication to to lull the pain away. He deals with the loss by sleeping all day on the couch. And them, one day, T.J. crosses paths with Hesher.
Hesher (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) is a long-haired, shirtless drifter that has decided to squat in the garage. He appears one day to do his laundry and never leaves. He’s what most regular folk would call a n’er do well, a vagrant, a punk. He pretty much says and does what he wants and that includes lighting stuff on fire and causing general mayhem. You know, when he’s not sitting on the the couch watching TV or playing his guitar too loud in the garage. Paul is too full of grief or out of it to try to get rid of Hesher and T.J., well, he’s a kid. Paul’s mother seems to have forged an instant bond of sorts with him, so Hesher isn’t going anywhere. And we should all be thankful for that.
Hesher is like this reckless, seemingly unprincipled and unmotivated neanderthal monk. On the outside he is prone to violent oubursts and petty vandalism, has a dirty mouth and mind, and doesn’t seem to care about much other than himself. But with time, as we experience him more and more, we find some meaning in his actions and unrefined words.
Hesher is about how we never know where we will find closure, how some might need a little help getting past something so horrible that we can’t move forward. Hesher is the catalyst by which some do just that. This is a film that is at once rather hilarious, and at turns quite moving. Joseph Gordon-Levitt is great here, turning in a role that is unlike much of what he’s done so far. I think he’s a talented guy and his versatility is on display in Hesher. Rainn Wilson is perfectly understated as Paul, trying to make sense of his loss, but drowning it in meds for the lack of knowing what else to do. And this leaves T.J. out of the loop; a boy with no idea how to handle his own grief and anger until Hesher gives him a few examples, conscious or not.
Natalie Portman is Nicole, the grocery store checker that help T.J. out of a tough spot one day. Of course she becomes a focus for his maternal needs and you now there is trouble brewing when she meets Hesher. But despite knowing that, it’s all handled well and Devin Brochu provides a natural sell. All in all the script is strong and the cast just reinforces that. Piper Laurie is wonderful as Paul’s mother and is a highlight of the film in a subtle way.
Some of my favorite moments here are Hesher’s utterly skewed, random, stories that he wields as perfect analogies for other characters in the film. They’re hilarious, and spot on. Frankly, Hesher is such a great character.
There is a lot of humor and drama here. I gotta say I really loved this movie. Directed and co-written by Spencer Susser, and his brother, Morgan Susser did the Cinematography. Even their dad was in the movie. Together they have a fine little film here. Absolutely four kittenhands. I recommend seeing Hesher when it arrives in theaters May 13, 2011.
~ Neil T. Weakley, your average movie-goer, really pleased with the last couple films I reviewed. And now I prepare for Summer Movie Season.