~’HESHER’ = THE NEW ‘LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE’ ? HELL, YES !!
HESHER – DIRECTED BY SPENCER SUSSMAN
REVIEWED BY NANCY SMITH. MAY 18, 2011
or: as the underground art world likes to say . . . . HESH, YES !!
‘HESHER’ – A FILM BY SPENCER SUSSER – PRODUCED BY NATALIE PORTMAN – WRITTEN BY SPENCER SUSSER & DAVID MICHOD – OPENED THIS PAST FRI – MAY 13, 2011, and, hell yes . . . it has a real shot of being to 2011 – what ‘LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE’ – was to 2006: the sleeper hit of the year – all the way to the academy awards !!
ok. it’s a little bit darker, and takes you to places off the chart – but hey – that’s what it’s all about. it hits home and presses your buttons, way before you realize – you’re silent and watching . . . and, not so laughing out loud, anymore. A brilliant family portrait that hits all age groups, and spares no one. it’s one big ride !! now, that’s what I call – entertainment.
‘LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE’ scored 2 ACADEMY AWARDS:
ALAN ARKIN for BEST ACTOR in a SUPPORTING ROLE, and BEST WRITING ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY – to MICHAEL ARNDT !!
it also scored a (huge) nomination for BEST MOTION PICTURE (no joke !!), and ABIGAL BRESLIN, as the young girl who is at the center of the flick’s narrative – was nominated for BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS !! – her first time out.
artlovers’ film contributor, JAN ALBERT wrote of ‘LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE ‘ in her BEST of 2006:
“quirky, beautifully cast, and laugh out loud funny . . . not to oversell this small joy but it’s a great ride.”
see: ‘LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE’ – OFFICIAL WEBSITE
‘HESHER’ – has RAIIN WILSON, (THE OFFICE !!), JOSEPH GORDON-LEVITT as HESHER (YES !! WAY, SUPER SUPER YES !!) and DEVIN BROCHU as TJ – the bullied bereft kid (YES YES & more YES !! Abigail move over) – sitting around the family dining room table, scarfing up the food – and the life !!
say what ?
quirky, beautifully cast and (in the beginning, cause ‘HESHER’ is a thrill ride – as in: no slouch !!) laugh out loud funny . . .
that goes way over the line and then some . . .
‘HESHER’ – to use Jan’s ‘LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE’ words, is quite simply . . . “not to oversell this small joy but it’s a great ride.”
RAIIN WILSON in particular comes in for some good words, in the ‘Sunshine’ comparison. he plays his role so convincingly – and so – on the low down, baby. he beats out Steve Carell, hands down.
NATALIE PORTMAN – in ‘HESHER’ . . . one of her best performances, ever !!
if you begin to think ‘HESHER’ goes too far – in the unexpected department. just think on the last time you opened up a conversation with a complete stranger – to find a beautiful loser !!
and like ‘LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE’ – this first feature by DIRECTOR SPENCER SUSSER, (NATALIE PORTMAN has a producer credit on the film’s website) – has an ace story line, that just never stops. a wicked witty take on the casual world we inhabit, as we all try to survive. . . and dream. not to mention an intimate portrait on the generational dance . . . that shines a sweet light on the darker side of the family dinner table.
not to forget knock-down production values. ace acting – the whole ensemble is amazing – it’s like watching a play. ace dialog. ace sets, ace cinematography. and ace (subtle as hell) sound effects & sound track.
instead of ALAN ARKIN as the outrageous grandpa, we get PIPER LAURIE as the sweet but goofy, clueless. not long for this world, and soon to pop-off grandma. if she ain’t dishing the potatoes, she’s sharing the bong !!
RICHARD BRODY reviewed ‘HESHER’ in the NEW YORKER, last week too . . .
‘HESHER’ . . . stars JOSEPH GORDON-LEVITT as the burn-out of the tile, an unemployed, unhinged, uninhibited heavy-metal stoner who barges into the life of a bullied teen-ager (DEVON BROCHU) and violently imposes himself on the kid’s grief-shattered household . . .
In exchange for bed, board, and complete, uncritical, and unquestioning indulgence HESHER offers meaningful life lessons.
There’s also an awkward bedraggled supermarket cashier (NATALIE PORTMAN) who adds to the film’s gallery of run-down and used-up people in need of just the kind of jolt that a foulmouthed, undisciplined, impulsive pyromaniac with a heart of gold, can provide.”
ALL PHOTOS: COURTESY/THE OFFICIAL MOVIE WEBSITES