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Hesher is indeed a rarity. It’s abrasive, vulgar, violent, and oddly touching. I nearly shed a tear at the end.
Hesher is a total mystery for the most part. There’s a slight insight to his gritty, but earnest view on life as he attends a visitation at the end of the film. Missing testicles and juvie fit into yet another bizarre scene like a flawed puzzle piece. I won’t spoil it for you.
Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays Hesher, a long-haired stoner with an affinity for Metallica and Motorhead. He’s accidentally outed from his “home” when an adolescent kid named T.J. (Devin Brochu) leads the police to the house where Hesher is squatting.
Hesher doesn’t own all the problems in this film. T.J. has a burden of his own. Three months earlier his mother died in a car accident and now he shares his sweet grandmother’s (Piper Laurie) home with his depressed and drugged out father, portrayed by Rainn Wilson. (Add another weird beard role to Dwight‘s career.)
Hesher decides he’s moving into Laurie’s home and no one besides T.J. practically notices. The grandmother, who is holding this delicate family together, just sees another housemate to joyously cook for.
T.J. is less than thrilled about the new living arrangements and his only friend is an adult supermarket cashier (Natalie Portman) who saves him from an overbearing bully. As the relationships progress, they get an up close view of Hesher’s chaotic and destructive lifestyle. In one scene he’s violently tossing patio furniture into a stranger’s pool, blowing a bully’s car apart later on, and perpetually spilling cereal while he lounges around the house in his stained tighty whities. He still manages to share a sweet medical marijuana moment with the grandmother. The aging Laurie pulling bong hits is very entertaining.
Hesher ends up being a healing angel to this family who can’t get past their grief. I swear the last few scenes of the film are almost tear-worthy. Hesher is endearing in a twisted and random way. While you understand where the story is taking you, it is peppered with strange behavior and violence all along the path to redemption and healing.
It comes as no surprise that Metallica comprises 90% of the film’s music since the Hesher movie poster is a version of the band’s logo.
If you like dark comedies with a flair for profane and insane antics, I’d be willing to bet Hesher will be a welcome addition to your WTF list.