What You Need To Know:
HIT SO HARD is engrossing, but episodic. The stark presentation of drug addition in the 1990s rock world is sad. Even so, ultimately there’s an uplifting ending of survival, including an anti-drug message. However, this positive content is marred by lots of strong foul language. Also, the main character always has had an openly lesbian lifestyle. The movie also contains some echoes of feminist empowerment. Thus, its worldview is somewhat mixed. So, HIT SO HARD will not be a hit for media wise moviegoers.
(PaPa, BB, HoHo, FeFe, LLL, V, SS, N, AA, DD, MM) Strong mixed pagan worldview with strong moral content against drug addiction in stark but uplifting documentary exposing the evils of heroin addiction in a real-life female rock and roll drummer’s life, but movie doesn’t shy away from mentioning the addict’s openly lesbian lifestyle, though not in a graphic way, plus there’s some feminist aspects, especially concerning the idea of female rock and roll drummers, an idea of feminist empowerment that captured the main character’s imagination in her youth; at least 48 obscenities and profanities, plus famous, now-dead singer Kurt Cobain of Nirvana pretends to make his baby swear for a homemade video; on-stage tantrums by female singer during concerts where she throws or kicks equipment, plus talk of her husband’s suicide; no sex scenes but the focus of the movie is an openly lesbian woman and her past drug addiction; brief non-explicit nudity backstage as people change outfits; frequent footage of drunken people; smoking and frequent footage of people high on drugs but heroin addiction and illegal drug use are shown as negative; and, woman has tattoos and some sweet moments of family life between parents and young daughter are marred by shots of them appearing drug-addled and incoherent around her.
HIT SO HARD is a stark yet ultimately uplifting documentary portrayal of female rock and roll drummer Patty Schemel. For several years in the early 1990s, Schemel was the drummer of Courtney Love’s influential female band Hole. Like Love, Schemel battled drug addiction before becoming sober. So, the movie comes out against illegal drug use, but it’s mixed with presentations of Schemel’s openly lesbian lifestyle, echoes of feminist empowerment, and lots of strong foul language.
HIT SO HARD’S engrossing portrait of overcoming drug addiction is drawn largely from 40 hours of old home movies. Schemel dug them up in her garage after gaining lasting sobriety. Combined with fresh interview footage, it shows how heroin slipped into her life and took it over. It also shows how it destroyed the lives of those around her, including Kurt Cobain, the founder of the rock band Nirvana and husband of Courtney Love, and the bassist of Love and Schemel’s band, Kristen Pfaff. The movie also shows some sweet family scenes of Cobain and Love before he killed himself in 1994. These scenes make his drug addiction and death even more poignant. Finally, Schemel freely discusses her downward spiral into heroin and crack addiction and homelessness after she and Love’s band had a falling out in 1998.
HIT SO HARD is engrossing, but episodic. The stark presentation of drug addition in the 1990s rock world is sad, but ultimately there’s an uplifting ending of survival with an anti-drug message. In fact, the movie’s main thrust lies in showing how Schemel’s addictions overwhelmed her life and those of her friends and band mates. Schemel started drinking to excess at age 11 and believes she inherited her addictions from her parents.
Despite the anti-drug message, the movie contains lots of strong foul language. Also, it doesn’t shy away from portraying and discussing the main character’s openly lesbian lifestyle. There is also some footage of on-stage tantrums by Love during concerts where she throws or kicks equipment. In addition, though some of the home movie footage of them is sweet, there is also footage of Love and Kurt Cobain in a drug-addled incoherence around their infant child. At one point, the child was taken away from them, but returned before Cobain’s final personal spiral into addiction and death.
On a side issue that’s not really dealt with in the movie, it should be noted that the “alternative rock” music of Kurt Cobain, Courtney Love, and Patty Schemel came out of the punk rock and grunge rock movements of the 1980s and 1990s. It also was a radical feminist, pro-homosexual reaction against the conservative trends of the 1980s evidenced by Reagan administration and Evangelical Christians (Cobain was openly pro-homosexual and Love is an ardent feminist). The movie itself places its main character’s role as a female rock drummer in a feminist context that includes her lesbian lifestyle. The idea of being a feminist drummer is seen as an issue of female empowerment. Apparently, this idea captured Schemel’s imagination as a lesbian youth and punk rock admirer living in Seattle in the 1980s.
Thus, despite the strong anti-drug message in HIT SO HARD, the movie’s worldview is mixed.