Director: Spencer Susser
Writer: Spencer Susser, David Michod (Screenplay) Brian Charles Frank (Story)
Starring: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Davin Brochu, Rainn Wilson, Piper Laurie, Natalie Portman, Brendan Hill, John Carroll Lynch
Story: A young boy T.J. (Brochu) has to start dealing with life after his mother’s death. T.J’s father Paul (Wilson) spends most days in mourning and doesn’t offer up any chance to communicate with T.J. His Grandma (Laurie) has opened her house to the two of them and is trying to help hold things together but T.J. doesn’t offer the time for her.
While on the way to school T.J. has a chance meeting with Hesher (Gordon-Levitt), Hesher is a foul-mouthed tramp like figure that decides to move in to the house uninvited. T.J. is being bullied by Dustin (Hill) and after Hesher provokes Dustin he chases after T.J. who is saved by Nicole (Portman). With all this going on can T.J. come to terms with the loss of his mother?
Story: This very touching drama following a grieving boy who meets different types of people with different struggles in their own lives. Each character has different ways to deal with situation and while the drama unfolds. As the story continues the drama intensifies. This might not be the highest level of commercial side for story but if you want to watch a well-constructed story this one great story. (9/10)
Cast: Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Hesher the foul-mouthed rebel who guides T.J. with certain methods that could offer many questions. He comes of as an anti role model but slowly turns into alternative guardian angel. Joseph Gordon-Levitt continues his remarkable performances on the indie films following brilliant performances in Mysterious Skin, Brick and The Lookout. I would have Gone with Star Performance But there is one better than his in the film, but still another excellent performance. (9/10)
Davin Brochu as T.J. From the opening sequence of him following the wrecked car being towed away on his bike even getting knocked off he just keeps going after the car until he gets in and sits and starts the tears rolling down his face., you knew this was going to be a special performance. Starting off as a quiet wimpy kid who is bullied he breaks out of his box as the film continues. This is a very special performance that will hopefully lead the young actor to bigger things in what looks like a bright future. Star Performance, Favourite Character (10/10)
Rainn Wilson as Paul Spends most of his time sat on the sofa watching television just mourning in his own way with pills, ignoring his son and unaware of the changes in his life. Rainn Wilson is usually known for his comedy role but this drama one is very good with a bit less scene time than his character really need to fully shine it is still a wonderful performance. (8/10)
Natalie Portman as Nicole works at a local shop for minimum wage and hours but after she sees T.J. in need of help she does the right thing. She starts to become a love interest of T.J. just a schoolboy crush. She is very lonely struggling to make ends meet and sees a chance of friendship with someone else who is in pain with T.J. Natalie Portman pull of a very average feel character with great effect so much so that you hardly notice it is her, great supporting performance (8/10)
Piper Laurie as Grandma, she lets T.J. and Paul move into her home after the death of Paul’s wife. All she wants in for one of them to go for a walk with her, but neither are willing too. Hesher befriends her and she starts playing almost like a surrogate grandmother to Hesher. She is pivotal to how T.J. and Paul come to terms with what has happened in their life. (9/10)
Director: Spencer Susser following a series of short films this is his feature film debut and nominated for the Sundance Grand Jury Prize is good for anyone record. What he creates here is very well constructed film that looks like it was going to follow one simple path just with one thing Hesher different from your traditional film. With this great debut I will be looking forward to seeing more work from this director and hope he can live up to these high standards. (9/10)
Drama: Having everything a top drama should have, with full emotional levels played out with all the characters. A story filled with characters with flaws giving them a more human touch as dramas go this was one that should have been given more of a chance in cinemas. Each scene towards the end seems to leave you with almost tears in the eyes some of sadness others of happiness. (9/10)
Music: The use of music in the background is very good and all the songs are suited perfectly to what is happening on scene. Add in to the rock music for Hesher first entrance and Exit. (9/10)
Cinematography: Good use of camera angles without really doing anything to stand out as extra special but nothing that doesn’t work great job done by all involved. (8/10)
Suggestion: If someone was to come up and ask me for a good drama to watch this would have to be near the top of the list, but I feel it may be a bit too serious for a more casual viewer to really enjoy.
Best Part: When T.J. sneaks into the junkyard to find the car that was involved in the accident and we find out what happened on that day.
Worst Part: I think a little bit more work on getting Rainn Wilson and Natalie Portman some more scene time would have completed the film.
Favourite Quote: ‘Life is like walking in the rain, You can hide and take cover or you can just get wet’
Overall: Very good emotional drama well worth a watch