Newest Review: ... to watch and entertaining, but I do think it could have had a bit of added 'spark' to make it more memorable and exciting. DVD releas... more
Everyone Needs A Hesher
Member Name: cazkins
Advantages: Easy to watch, blends emotion/drama/comedy well, interesting cast & characters
Disadvantages: Not enough 'oomph' in parts to give greater impact
This was directed by Spencer Susser, who seems to have worked on a few short pieces but nothing I recognise, so this is probably his first big name production. We're introduced to a small host of key characters; there's a young boy called T.J who has just lost his mother, leaving himself and his father distraught and moving in with his grandmother. T.J is having a tough time of things and the bullies at school are only making it worse. Intro Hesher, a loner-type of older kid that seems to pop up from nowhere, seemingly without a home or family of his own. His greasy hair, dishevelled look and smoking add to the image of his negative and isolated attitude, but perhaps there's more to this guy than first meets the eye. He happens upon T.J being bullied, but may not do anything to stop it, only to later step in; it appears he may be becoming the older brother type figure, even though one that wasn't actually invited into T.J's life.
Hesher literally seems to rock up and roll on in to grandma's house, making himself at home with this distraught family. The kid doesn't know what to do, grandma enjoys the company, and the dad too out of touch and a mess after his wife's death that he doesn't really know what to think. As the film continues, we see the relationships between Hesher and the family collide and develop. Then there's Nicole, a shy kind of young woman who works at a grocery store that T.J gets a crush on, even though he's a child in comparison to her, but their friendship begins to blossom, with both being somewhat outcasts to what they feel is mainstream society. In fact, T.J, Nicole and Hesher are all more similar than they probably realise, but as Hesher's behaviour gets more erratic and unpredictable, tensions arise. Who is really using who? Did Hesher help that family by coming in and changing the atmosphere, or did they help him by becoming his temporary family?
I won't say any more on the premise. It's actually pretty difficult to say what the storyline was because it wasn't a strong 'this-happens-that-happens' kind of film. It's more a drama with bits of comedy, tales of how lives interact and the impact of a stranger at the most unexpected of times. Hesher actually boarders a heart-warmingly sad genre and a comedy, with a bit of weirdness in between. There's some strong language in this and perhaps some 'vulgarity' where sexual talk is concerned, but that's about it, hence the 15 certificate. It seemed to be done fairly smoothly, added in for impact rather than for the sake of it, even though some of it was a little dubious perhaps.
The cast includes Joseph Gordon-Levitt (Hesher), Devin Brochu (T.J), Natalie Portman (Nicole) and Rainn Wilson (Paul, the father), amongst others. I actually thought that all played their respectives roles well, coming across as believable and easy to watch. Gordon-Levitt was the quirky and comical Hesher, with undertones of compassion and a hint of sadness, whilst Bronchu made me sympathise and feel his pain quite well as a boy a little lost in the world, devastation in the wake of his mother's death. All in all, the cast carried the film through well and I don't really have any negative comments on this.
This was quite an easy film to watch, keeping a relatively moderate pace throughout that was in keeping with a drama genre. There was some action here and there to liven things up, but I didn't find the downtimes to be too slow or stretched out, so I was kept fairly gripped from start to finish. What I really liked about this was its ability to make me empathise, to feel for the characters and begin to understand their thoughts and behaviours, T.J in particular. I actually found it pretty sad, but it did have a hint of being more uplifting and positive towards the end, so I was left feeling happy I'd seen it. The weirdness comes really in terms of things said and done, as well as the type of characters, but it's one of those 'feelings' you need to watch to be able to understand.
I wouldn't say this was anything extra-special, however, at times lacking some sort of 'oomph' I couldn't quite put my fingers on. It had a good overall feel to it, though it did seem quite understated and not high in budget, helping to keep it feeling that bit more gritty and realistic. There were a few moments that stuck in my mind, though probably not enough so to make this a film I'd go out of my way to recommend unfortunately. I did think the character development was fairly well done for the most part, which is what I thought most about after watching this. It's a little quirky in terms of characters and script to give it a little edge and help it stand out from the crowd, and it blended drama, compassion, sadness and comedy quite well. There was just the sense of it not being quite enough to make it really meaningful and poignant, though I'm still glad I watched it as it made for an entertaining evening.
Overall, I would recommend this as a thought-provoking flick with a good set of characters. It's easy enough to watch and entertaining, but I do think it could have had a bit of added 'spark' to make it more memorable and exciting.
DVD released 2012, rated Certificate 15
Selling on Amazon for £7.07
Summary: An interesting watch that's a little different to the norm