"Success in Hollywood Doesn’t Equate to Personal Success"
In THE HERO, a successful, aging Western actor is diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and tries to reconcile his relationship with his daughter, but can’t say no to the life of drugs, alcohol and young woman that surround him. THE HERO is an engaging independent movie that gives a realistic depiction of an actor’s life when the cameras are off, but it has a mixed worldview where some positive elements are mixed with substance abuse, foul language and immoral situations that make the movie excessive.
THE HERO tells the story of Lee, an aging Western actor in Hollywood played by Sam Elliott. Lee has achieved much success as an actor, but his personal life is far from impressive. Lee wallows through his day doing voiceover jobs to stay afloat and drinking whiskey and smoking marijuana with his friend, Jeremy (Nick Offerman) to pass the time. He’s always waiting for a phone call from his agent to do another big movie, but these days, at 71, the phone hardly rings.
After being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, Lee decides to change the direction of his life. He first decides to write his own movie about something that matters. He’s done more than 40 movies, but admits he’s only really proud of one. While he tries to decide the plot for his new movie, his agent calls to congratulate him on a lifetime achievement award.
Lee doesn’t want to go, however. He’s a drinker, divorced and hardly speaks to his daughter, Lucy. He invites Lucy to be his date for the evening, but she turns him down, still hurt for all the years Lee choose his career over her.
While smoking marijuana with Jeremy, Lee meets a girl named Charlotte. She has a tough persona, but with her seductive body language and flirty passes. Charlotte makes it known she likes Lee and tells him she wants him to ask her out. He asks her to be his date at the award ceremony, and she says yes.
Charlotte, an active drug user, takes a mind-altering pill and gives one to Lee before the event. During the ceremony, when Lee gets on stage, the effects of the pill overcome him. He bellows out an inspiring speech by saying he’s no greater than anyone in the room and gives his award to a shy, country woman in the back row named Diane. His speech goes viral. The next day his agent calls and informs him he’s hot again, and Hollywood wants him back in the movies! He gets an audition for a life changing role and feels alive again. He develops a romantic relationship with Charlotte, who happens to be 30 years younger.
Lee dives into the audition sides, begins sleeping with Charlotte, and drinks more. During the big audition, he crumbles when he has to read the word daughter in the script. He breaks down into tears, remembering he promised his daughter lunch a day ago but forgot to go after smoking too much marijuana. Disgusted with himself, Lee storms home in tears, throws away his drugs, cleans up his house, and realizes how easily he turns on his family when Hollywood calls. Can he make these changes stick?
THE HERO is entertaining to watch, with a solid performance by Sam Elliott as Lee. However, the movie has a mixed pagan worldview. There are strong moral and light redemptive elements where Lee wants to change his ways and seeks to mend his relationship with his daughter while begging for forgiveness. He also wants to do good work in the world before he dies. However, this positive content is mixed with some strong Romantic, pagan elements where Lee indulges in drugs, alcohol and sexual promiscuity to cope with his pain. Thus, THE HERO contains a significant amount of negative, objectionable content to warrant extreme caution.
(PaPa, BB, C, RoRo, LL, V, SS, NN, AA, DDD, MMM) Strong mixed pagan worldview with strong moral and light redemptive elements where father seeks to mend relationship with his daughter and begs for forgiveness and redemption, successful actor desires to make films with a positive influence, protagonist aims to do good work in the world before he dies, mixed with opposing Romantic, pagan elements where main character is controlled by emotions first and protagonist indulges in drugs, drunkenness and sexual promiscuity to cope with pain; 15 obscenities (including some “f” words) and several profanities, plus standup comic talks about male genitals graphically in comedy club; brief violence includes man pushes invasive Hollywood reporter out of his face; depicted sexual perversion, young woman spends the night at older man’s house and entices him by wearing no pants and a shirt with no bra, unmarried man and woman with 30-year age difference fornicate twice; partial nudity includes side view of a woman’s breast depicted, and woman’s naked back shown; alcohol use and drunkenness includes man drinks whisky alone at night, man drinks red wine in the afternoon alone, young girl orders wine at a bar, man and woman chug glasses of champagne and take shots of whiskey at social event; extreme drug use throughout movie includes man smokes marijuana daily, man smokes marijuana with his friend, and man takes pills and mushrooms when he feels sad; and, heavy miscellaneous immorality includes bad role models, successful Hollywood actor indulges in drugs and sleeps with a woman his daughters age, dysfunctional family portrayal, famous actor puts career first and is absent in daughter’s life, and successful Hollywood stars use their money for drugs.
THE HERO tells the story of Lee, an aging actor who’s achieved great success in his career, but failed to be there for his family along the way. Now 71, Lee is divorced, has an estranged relationship with his daughter, and uses drugs and alcohol frequently. After he’s diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, he seeks to mend his relationship with his daughter and leave a positive influence in the world by choosing to make movies that matter. However, in the end he realizes you can’t erase the past, and the choices you make can stay with you forever.
THE HERO has a good cast, led by the reliable Sam Elliott in the title role. As such, it tells a harrowing, personal and engaging story of an aging actor re-examining his past, with some funny comical moments. Most scenes are shot in local spots around Los Angeles, which give this emotional movie a solid sense of atmosphere. However, the movie’s positive moral elements are mixed with substance abuse, foul language, and other immoral, objectionable content and situations. So, MOVIEGUIDE® finds THE HERO excessive.