When motocross and heavy metal obsessed, 13-year-old Jacob's delinquent behavior forces CPS to place his little brother Wes with his aunt, Jacob and his emotionally absent father must finally take responsibility for their actions and each other in order to bring Wes home.


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  • ★★★½ review by Waio Diaz on Letterboxd

    I enjoyed the authentic portrayal of this broken family despite all the melodrama and tragedy surrounding it. Josh Wiggins gives a memorable performance as the troubled teen who has trouble coping with everything that has happened to him. I'm glad to see Aaron Paul getting more movie roles after the success of Breaking Bad.

  • ★★★½ review by Auteur on Letterboxd

    The kind of low-rent indie drama that evolves its narrative out of situations rather than character, yet packs an impressive punch in the acting department. These are the films I want to see Aaron Paul continue doing, here playing a semi-deadbeat widower father of two boys, aged ten and thirteen, the younger of which gets taken one day by Child Protective Services and placed in the care of his sister-in-law, played by Juliette Lewis.

    Hellion has a very loose flow, as not every scene is vital, and some important ones are skipped over altogether, like when the older kid decides to enter a motor-cross competition to win money that he thinks will somehow return his brother home, and there is nary a single conversation about it with his father. But Josh Wiggins is good enough as Jacob (though not Tye Sheridan good), and Paul is effectively empathetic, even dialing back his Jesse Pinkman-depresso phase far enough that his character's arc is believable even though it's obvious. Hellion might be something I'd watch again, but nothing I would look to for anything revelatory.

  • ★★★★½ review by Brian Tallerico on Letterboxd

    Yes, we've seen these characters before but rarely with such passion and honesty. It's raw, painful, and real, like watching scars heal on screen. And it made me want to not just call my sons immediately but hop a plane so I could hug them. This is one of the Sundance films that I guarantee you that you will hear more about in coming months. Or there's no cinematic justice. Fantastic.

  • ★★★★ review by Derek Diercksmeier on Letterboxd

    While it lacks originality and subtlety, it boasts palpable realism and a great performance from the brilliant Aaron Paul.

  • ★★★½ review by Dan on Letterboxd

    "Hellion" is an average story bolstered by some above average acting. Aaron Paul, playing outside his comfort zone as a widower father, is really quite good and shows that his time on "Breaking Bad" wasn't just a fluke. He seems to love doing these indies (in fact, he specifically said that in a live Q&A after my screening of "Hellion") and I hope he keeps them up.

    But fans of the art house have seen "Hellion" or something like it before. Mid-west family drama, think of the children! type stuff. It's not bad, I actually really enjoyed it since I don't watch that genre too often, but it's not something I'm gonna say you should rush out and see. The child actors, almost entirely first-timers, are also quite good, as are the film's visuals.

    The two biggest problems with it? First, the shaky cam. So much shaky, my friend had to walk out of the theater from motion sickness. Second, there's a development in the third act that is... unrealistic? Makes you wonder what the hell the characters are thinking, when prior to that everything flowed along at a nice believable pace. Ultimately, not a movie I plan on seeing again, but the writer/director is clearly talented, and I'd love to see her and Paul work together again.

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