Artifice is rodeo clowning for the script's flaws, with huge gaps of character development lost to a film that would rather stay on Hesher and his staring contests than tell a full-throated story.
A grim little drama that seems to exist in order to give the talented Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Natalie Portman a chance to look extra-scruffy.
Hesher's such a mystery that he seems like a device (bong hits with Grandma, really?), and the same goes double for [Portman's character].
One by one the wheels start to come off, and before it's over you're working on your own metaphors for when the film fell apart instead of cleaving to those Susser is half-committing to the screen.
the film really picks up whenever Gordon-Levitt appears
Film Journal International
Fit for the scrap heap which provides one of the heavy-handed visual motifs here.
Hesher is a muddle of inchoate feelings that never really grasps the cliches to which it raises its middle finger.
Las Vegas Weekly
Hesher is funny and off-kilter without being cloying, and Gordon-Levitt gives an appealingly unpredictable performance.
Time Out New York
Sundancey redemption-trajectory aside, the film is often unsentimentally tough and committed.
Hollywood & Fine
Gordon-Levitt has an expressive deadpan, marvelous control of his eyebrows and an air of menace. His lean, leathery physique and flat-footed gait convey purpose.
...Gordon-Levitt and Piper Laurie make for one of the year's most intriguing screen couples.
The guitar solos blasting from Joseph Gordon-Levitt's sullen, arson-prone wasteoid's van can't drown out the dominant bleat of indie-therapy whine.
Dangerous, immoral and just plain wrong at parts, and that makes it fantasy. I don't even think it's wish fulfillment. It's just putting bold concepts on screen and asking audiences to deal with them.
[VIDEO] "Hesher" is an experimental film that attempts to be transgressive. It isn't.
Fascinating in its shaggy, offbeat way.
It manages to succeed with a pastiche of great casting and an unapologetic slant towards being anti-touchy-feely. Until it needs to be.
JoBlo's Movie Emporium
exactly the kind of film I was hoping I'd see at Sundance
Gordon-Levitt's Hesher is raw destruction and aggro comedy punctuated with a blast of crunching metal.
Hesher is a risky gambit that's pleasingly provocative.