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Review of Natalie Portman and Joseph Gordon-Levitt in Hesher at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival

Sundance Snapshot: Hesher

We've covered a fair few films from Sundance over the last few days. And though we're on the home stretch, we've still got a few more flicks up our sleeve. Read on for my review of Hesher, and be sure to check out all of my Sundance Snapshots.

  • Who's behind it? Spencer Susser wrote and directed the film, which stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Natalie Portman, Rainn Wilson, as well as relative newcomer Devin Brochu
  • What's it about? Brochu plays TJ, a troubled 13-year-old trying to cope with his mother's recent death. With his father in a daze and no friends to turn to, TJ spends his time trying to avoid a bully at school and crushing on a supermarket checkout girl (Natalie Portman). A twist of fate brings a foul-mouthed, greasy, tattooed pyromaniac named Hesher (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) into TJ's life and house, forming a strange bond and leading to all kinds of strange adventures that eventually affect TJ and his whole family.

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  • What did I think? If JGL was looking for a way to change it up from straight-laced Tom in (500) Days of Summer, he certainly picked the right film. His Hesher is obnoxious, somewhat terrifying and overly crude (I was cringing at many of his jokes and I'm no prude). Even when I laughed, it was mostly in spite of myself. Hesher and TJ have an interesting friendship (though it's a reach to even call it that), but their relationship is never fully explored. Though the movie ends on a sweet note, there are plenty of sad moments and even more unconformable ones. Joseph Gordon-Levitt definitely gets the chance to put another offbeat role on his resume; whether or not the masses will ever see it is another story.
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