Sundance 2010 Review: HESHER with Joseph Gordon-Levitt

ReviewMovie Sundance by Joey Paur

Hesher is one of the films up at the Sundance Film Festival that I was really looking forward to seeing. It was the cast of this movie that really sparked my interest, and that includes Joseph Gordon-Levitt who is really doing some great things as an actor these days, Natalie Portman who we all can’t help but adore, and Rainn Wilson from The office in a role where he’s not funny at all. It seems like most comedians have to try out a non funny role sometime in their career. 

Other than the cast and the the indie film fueled story line I really didn’t know what to expect. Now that I’ve seen the film I can tell you that it was really good and I enjoyed watching it. It definitely follows all of the rules of those quirky indy films that we’ve all seen being made in the last few years. The movie falls into the dramady genre. There are scenes where you just can’t help but laugh, and then there are scenes that are just incredibly sad and depressing. In the end I feel the film is more of a depressing drama than it is a comedy. I don’t know if that’s what the director of the film, Spencer Susser, wanted or not. But in the end this movie was a pretty messed up journey to finding happiness.

The story follows a 13-year-old boy named T.J. and his father as they struggle with the loss of their mother and wife in a car accident. They move in with grandma in an effort to pick up the pieces and try to figure out how to move on with their lives. It is in the middle of this life experience that an anarchist loner who hates the world by the name of Hesher comes in and crashes the party of sadness. It is this incredibly screwed up person with long crazy hair, incredibly weird tattoos, and a fetish for lighting fires and blowing things up, that ends up helping this family in the most unexpected ways. 

The character Hersher is the glue that holds this movie together, and Joseph Gordon-Levitt gave yet another fantastic performance! I loved the character he played, Gordon Levitt played this character perfectly, and he was definitely the best part of the movie. This was the character that brought the comedic madness to the story. I was joyfully shocked by what this character does to this poor family. This guy is insane! Just to give you an idea, the first time we are introduced to this character, he drags T.J. in a home that’s under construction, throws him up against the wall grabs him by the neck with some powerful force and starts chocking him. Regardless of how brutal this character is, he is very funny. If Gordon-Levitt keeps finding these great roles, one day he will land himself an Oscar, the guy is just extremely talented.

Rain Wilson did a fine job in his performance as TJ’s messed up and depressed father. Like I said, he’s not funny in this film, it’s a very dark performance and he seemed to pull it off well. As for Natalie Portman, I’m sorry but no matter how hard anyone tries, you can’t make this woman look like an average looking character even with the glasses they threw on her. Her part wasn’t very big, but she did a great job in the role.

One of the other great performances in the film comes from Devin Brochu, the kid who plays T.J. This kid had to act out some pretty crazy and intense scenes in the film, and he pulled them off brilliantly. I thought his performance was excellent. It was such a sad character to watch though. The stuff this kid had to endure was just very sad, and you could tell everything that was going on around him was really screwing him up. I hope we see more of this kid in the movies, he’s definitely got talent. 

Hersher was a really good film, but it was the performances of Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Devin Brochu that really blew me away, and made this movie worth watching.

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