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Hesher (2010)

R  |   |  Drama  |  25 June 2011 (Japan)
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Ratings: 7.1/10 from 42,320 users   Metascore: 45/100
Reviews: 97 user | 132 critic | 26 from Metacritic.com

A young boy has lost his mother and is losing touch with his father and the world around him. Then he meets Hesher who manages to make his life even more chaotic.


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1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Mary Elizabeth Barrett ...
Funeral Director
Angry Driver
Mrs. Rosowski
Paul Bates ...
Mr. Elsberry


T.J., a high school freshman, lost his mother two months before in a car accident: his father pops pills and sits on the couch; his grandmother holds things together, chatting and cooking. T.J. wants the car back from the salvage yard where the owner's son is a bully. By happenstance, Hesher, a foul-mouthed squatter, moves in with T.J's family. T.J. also meets Nicole, a grocery clerk near poverty who helps him once. Hesher involves T.J. in crime, the bully is omnipresent, mom's car is slipping away, dad has checked out, T.J. watches Nicole at work, and his grandma invites him to join her morning walk: the odds are long that T.J. can assemble a family to help him thrive. Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Sometimes life gives you the finger and sometimes it gives you...



Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for disturbing violent behavior, sexual content including graphic dialogue, pervasive language, and drug content - some in the presence of a child | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

25 June 2011 (Japan)  »

Also Known As:

Rebel  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$7,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$126,046 (USA) (13 May 2011)


$382,946 (USA) (29 July 2011)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


In the pool scene, Hesher asks R2 to shut down all the trash compactors. This refers to R2-D2 from Star Wars. Director Spencer Susser also directed a TV special short, R2-D2: Beneath the Dome (2001), and, of course, Natalie Portman played Queen Amidala in three Star Wars movies. See more »


TJ's cast in the opening scene switches between his left and right arm between shots. See more »


Hesher: You lost your wife. And you lost your mom. I lost my nut.
See more »


References The Muppet Show (1976) See more »


Anesthesia (Pulling Teeth)
Written by Cliff Burton
Performed by Metallica
See more »

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User Reviews

Strong performances in a surprisingly well-done character study.
5 August 2011 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

It's hard to really describe a movie like Hesher. At first it comes off as this bizarre comedy, but as the film goes along it becomes more and more this character study of a chaotic force coming into the life of a family that needs it more than they think. Joseph Gordon-Levitt's titular character is a psychopath, a heavy metal loving maniac who uses foul language at the most inappropriate times, flies off the handle with violence and pyromania and generally frightens anyone who sees him. He invites himself into the home of the Forneys without a word and no one tells him to leave or, more realistically, calls the police.

This concept is a little off-putting at first and gave me some slight trouble getting into the story, but once the film started to develop it became more and more...honest, in a strange way. They didn't tell him to leave because subconsciously they knew that they needed him. At first it seems like he's there for a home and a place to do laundry (the character is introduced living in a construction site) but later on we realize that he doesn't need them at all. He's a drifter in the wind, somehow helping these people that he comes into contact with despite initially seeming like the worst person you would ever want around. The concept is still a little too bizarre and the final act gets way too melodramatic and schmaltzy, but the film hit me a lot more honestly and emotionally than I was expecting it too.

I've always admired Levitt as one of the finest actors of his generation, but even I didn't think he could pull off a role like this. Boy, I was wrong to doubt him, because he is on fire the whole way through. Hilarious, terrifying and somehow heartfelt, he makes this character incredibly real, which is probably the biggest surprise of all. Natalie Portman also manages to impress in a supporting role as a shopgirl that Hesher and our young protagonist T.J. (a mature child performance from Devin Brochu) come into contact with. She grounds the film in some ways, being the most honest and human character, and she has a breakdown in her car with T.J. that is pretty wrenching.

I'm always kind of off-put by films where people in their late twenties somehow befriend ten year-olds and no one calls the police or anything, but this is one of the rare ones that allowed me to get past that initial gripe and eventually respect it for the solid character study that it is.

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