Director: Spencer Susser
T.J (Devin Brochu) has lost his mother in a car accident. He is traumatized and living with his father (Rain Wilson) and grandmother (Piper Laurie). T.J. is living in a traumatized state and seems to be racing from one dramatic catastrophe to another, whilst his grieving father can barely get out of bed or bother to change his underpants on a daily basis.
A chance meeting with Hesher (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) is about to change T.J’s life for better or worse. Hesher is what I like to call a 90’s tale with a millennial twist. The themes of family grief and mourning are explored in great detail, yet a millennial twist is added with the introduction of Hesher who makes an impact on the lives of the bereaved in his original fashion.
Natalie Portman enters the tale as Nicole, a grocery store clerk who becomes one of many of T.J’s external parental figures in the absence of his fathers sanity when she protects him from his “bully” or nemesis Dustin (Brendan Hill).
Hesher is a novel attempt at conveying what has become a traditional story concept in an extraordinary action packed fashion. The antics of Hesher seem to explode at the exact time in the story that would usually be filled with drama filled interaction by the family. It is as though Hesher is the emotional or dramatic conduit that would hold a more traditional film together, at one point I wondered if he was even real and then it appeared that he definitely is.
I quite enjoyed this film and feel that it is entirely underrated. If you are in the mood for an intense family drama with a twist then I can recommend Hesher for a light-hearted and hopeful perspective on life,death, community and family.
Spencer Susser won the award for best first time director at the Philadelphia film festival and was nominated for the grand Jury prize at Sundance.
7 out of 10.
- Hesher (constructedcriticism.wordpress.com)