What You Need To Know:
HESHER wants to be an edgy character study that screams its independent movie roots, but it utterly fails to have much entertainment value, because it lacks any charm or characters truly worth caring about. Everyone just wallows in self-pity or argues loudly with one another. Also, Hesher’s utterly destructive and non-stop parade of misbehavior is downright unpleasant to watch. HESHER has numerous scenes of violence, mayhem, destruction, and obscenity.
(PaPaPa, LLL, VVV, SSS, N, AA, DDD, MMM) Very strong pagan worldview where the nihilistic title character does awful, nasty, horrible things with virtually no consequence or remorse, 200 or so obscenities and profanities, including many “f” words, ample use of “GD” and other profane uses of God’s name and numerous combinations of obscenities for insults and expressions of anger; numerous scenes of violence, mayhem and destruction include vandalism, teenage bully repeatedly pounds the 13-year-old main character, bully spits in 13-year-old’s face, bully tackles young teenage boy in bathroom and forces his face into a urinal (with the implication he’ll make the boy eat the urinal cake), young man pours gasoline on the bully’s car and sets fire to it and destroys it, young man draws obscene cartoons on vehicle and writes obscene messages on it, 13-year-old takes some sharp pliers and breaks into the bully’s house to threaten cutting off bully’s bare toe, title character saves bully from this but then uses pliers to cut bully’s nose; several disgusting stories of wildly graphic and inappropriate sexual behavior and about excretory matters, obscene cartoons and writing, obscene sexual dialogue, brief shot of twentysomething title character having sexual relations with a young woman his younger teenage friend fancies, title character steals Cable TV pornography, pornography is shown quickly and at a distance but title character watches it in front of a father and 13-year-old son in complete disregard for how offensive this is; upper male nudity; heavy alcohol use throughout; much cigarette smoking and frequent marijuana smoking includes title character teaches grandmother how to use a bong to smoke medical marijuana; and, vile angry tattoos, vandalism, characters wallow in self-pity, title character makes a particularly vile speech delivered at a funeral service for an old woman that is portrayed by the moviemakers at first as humorous and then even noble.
HESHER is a nasty, vile, independent movie that tries to be a character study of a twentysomething man named Hesher (played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt) who is a heavy metal fan with almost no morals or principles of any kind.
A 13-year-old boy named T.J. stumbles across him while Hesher is staying in a house under construction. Hesher angrily confronts him for drawing the attention of security and begins to stalk the boy. He finds out where the boy lives with his grandmother and his father, who, like the boy, is grief-stricken over the car-crash death of the wife and mother a couple of months before. The boy wants to save the wrecked vehicle as a reminder of his mom. When his father sells it to a junkyard, the boy winds up arguing with the junkyard owner’s son, who bullies him repeatedly throughout the rest of the movie.
Hesher threatens T.J. into letting him stay in his house and starts turning everyone’s life upside down with his bad attitude and destructiveness. Hesher’s extremely skewed sense of friendship and morality causes him to avenge T.J. against the bully by taking the boy to the bully’s house, dousing the bully’s car in gasoline and setting it ablaze. T.J. gets questioned by the police and fingerprinted for the incident. He also discovers Hesher having sexual relations with the female cashier he fancies. So, T.J. demands that Hesher leaves for good.
[SPOEILERS] The grandmother dies. Hesher appears unexpectedly at the somber ceremony to deliver a drunken, angry, vile eulogy that is still intended to show he cared for the old lady in his own odd way. Ultimately, Hesher says the grandmother always loved taking walks, so he pushes her casket out of the funeral home and into the streets outside, as the boy and his father run after him and join him in pushing the casket. This incident inspires the father to shave his beard, get out of the house and stop his wallowing in misery. In the end, he awakens T.J. to show him that Hesher left them the crushed vehicle from their accident as a token of affection for the boy before disappearing forever.
HESHER wants to be an edgy character study that screams its independent-movie roots, but it utterly fails trying to contain any real entertainment value because it’s lacking any charm or characters truly worth caring about. Everyone just wallows in self-pity or argues loudly with each other. Also, Hesher’s utterly destructive and non-stop parade of misbehavior makes the movie downright unpleasant to watch and likely to bomb big-time. This movie has no respect for traditional behavior and values, and little for the dead. If you consider seeing HESHER, consider yourself forewarned that you’re in for an utterly miserable experience.
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