31 July 2011 | terrencepatrix
A heavy metal force of nature
Hesher is an interesting movie with a surprisingly upbeat, positive, and warm message at it's core. Hesher himself, while aptly acted, is a vulgar, heavy metal, chaotic, force of seeming destruction. He is essentially a plot device created to facilitate emotional growth and change in the lives around him. Some people will clearly A) Be entirely too dense to grasp this concept, B) Judge it entirely on it's vulgarity, thus ignoring it's message, or C) Understand it and appreciate it for what it is.
Whereas some movies rely on overly positive, loving, compassionate, understanding, and patient characters to get it's point across, "Hesher" doesn't just deviate from that...it takes a huge steamy dump on it. It's a symbol that not everyone needs group therapy to get over a personal crisis. That your world won't end without some prophetic angelic figure gracing you with it's presence. Instead, it shows you the depths of anger and chaos. It shows you that you really CAN just...do it. Whether "it" is getting out of bed and choosing to start life anew, or to trash a backyard and set a swimming pool on fire. The emphasis is that if you just ignore the consequences, perceived or literal, at least you DID SOMETHING. To me that is a fantastic message, regardless of how abstract or vulgar it's portrayed.
As to the movie itself, Hesher was played amazingly well. Joseph Gordon-Levitt played the character straight without it feeling cliché. You never quite know what his character will do, be it a seemingly offensive yet benign act that sets off a series of reactions that result in a positive conclusion, or setting a car on fire. It could be throwing explosives out a window, or helpfully picking up broken dish ware off the carpet. T.J. (Devin Brochu) nails the feeling of "angst", and has some pretty awesome rage moments you normally don't see from child actors. The father (Rainn Wilson) does a fair job as a broken down, depressed father, who's completely at a loss as to what to do and is so consumed by his own depression he ignores his child. It's similar to his character in "Super", not his best performance, but well performed. The grandmother "Piper Laurie" is very pleasant as a loving, kind, gentle figure. As for Natalie Portman's character, she seemed more of an inclusion just to further the concept of "Hesher" than a fully flushed out character. While her acting was spot on, it wasn't entirely necessary nor was her plot. She's hot though, so it's easy to let go.
Ultimately this is a feel good movie in a Heavy Metal package. It has some, albeit vulgar, prolific metaphors for life that when thought over are actually spot on. You have to be able to set aside your offense, and see it for the touching movie it is to be able to enjoy it. I honestly felt that it's message was very heartfelt and sincere. If any of this sounds interesting, then watch "Hesher". If it sounds terrible, well, it's probably not for you.