San Francisco Chronicle
"Hesher" is about as awful as independent films get, a mix of ugliness and unearned sentiment, with a flat story, repellent and pathetic characters and dialogue that consists of lots of stammering and cursing.
Mark Reviews Movies
Beyond the fact that Hesher is a character to be despised instead of admired, Hesher is distanced from its characters and their situation in its apathy toward them.
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].
the film really picks up whenever Gordon-Levitt appears
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.
Las Vegas Weekly
Hesher is funny and off-kilter without being cloying, and Gordon-Levitt gives an appealingly unpredictable performance.
...Gordon-Levitt and Piper Laurie make for one of the year's most intriguing screen couples.
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.
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.
Gordon-Levitt's Hesher is raw destruction and aggro comedy punctuated with a blast of crunching metal.
JoBlo's Movie Emporium
exactly the kind of film I was hoping I'd see at Sundance
Hesher is a risky gambit that's pleasingly provocative.