111 user 141 critic

Hesher (2010)

R | | Drama | 25 June 2011 (Japan)
1:43 | Trailer
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.


Spencer Susser
1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Joseph Gordon-Levitt ... Hesher
Devin Brochu ... TJ
Rainn Wilson ... Paul
Piper Laurie ... Grandma
Natalie Portman ... Nicole
Brendan Hill ... Dustin
John Carroll Lynch ... Larry
Monica Staggs ... Mom
Mary Elizabeth Barrett ... Meryl
Audrey Wasilewski ... Coleen
Lyle Kanouse ... Jack
Frank Collison ... Funeral Director
Van Epperson ... Angry Driver
Helen Slayton-Hughes ... 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:

View content advisory »

Did You Know?


In the scene where Hesher criticizes T.J. for not taking walks with his grandmother, the man who he refers to that rapes old women was actually serial killer Albert DeSalvo, more commonly known as the "Boston Strangler." See more »


When Hesher is thrashing around in the pool reenacting a scene from Star Wars, he yells "R2! Shut down all the trash compactors on the detention level!". However, in the original Star Wars movie, Luke is talking to C-3PO on the comm unit, and is yelling "3PO", not "R2". See more »


Nicole: What did I do to deserve this chain reaction of shit all the time?
See more »


References Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (1977) See more »


Rock Out
Written by Lemmy (as Lemmy Kilmister)
Performed by Motörhead
See more »

User Reviews

A heavy metal force of nature
31 July 2011 | by terrencepatrixSee all my reviews

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.

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Official Sites:

Official site [Japan]





Release Date:

25 June 2011 (Japan) See more »

Also Known As:

Rebel See more »

Filming Locations:

California, USA See more »


Box Office


$7,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$126,046, 15 May 2011

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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