Directed by Brett Haley
Lee, a former Western film icon, is living a comfortable existence lending his golden voice to advertisements and smoking weed. After receiving a lifetime achievement award and unexpected news, Lee reexamines his past, while a chance meeting with a sardonic comic has him looking to the future.
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★★★½ review by Connor Carey on Letterboxd
Funny and moving, "The Hero" is one of the finest and most underrated movies of the year. Its premise and themes have been explored many times before but this film rises above most others because of the fantastic performance from Sam Elliot and a great sense of realism. This movie blends comedy and drama together perfectly and the film has several scenes that nearly brought a tear to my eye. I can't stress this enough though Sam Elliot is phenomenal, this is the best performance I've ever seen from him and I couldn't see anyone else playing this part better than he did. The scene where he's reading lines for a script might just be some of the finest acting I've ever seen in a movie. I really hope more people check this out soon, we hopefully have our first lock for Best Actor.
★★★★ review by Wayne on Letterboxd
Sam Elliot gives the very best performance of his very lengthy career in "The Hero". When he's on screen you can't take your eyes off of him. The films explores so many different themes in interesting ways and I really enjoyed this movie. I do wish there was more time spent on the relationship between the lead and his daughter but that's just a minor complaint in such a great movie. Go see this one.
★★★½ review by TajLV on Letterboxd
"Movies are other people's dreams." ~ Lee Hayden
This dramedy from writer-director Brett Haley gives us Sam Elliott as Lee Hayden, a Western entertainer whose best work is long behind him. In the 1970s, he had one hit film, "The Hero," and since then he's been relegated to TV series, voiceovers and bit parts. When a pancreatic cancer biopsy reveals the worst, he visits his friend Jeremy Ford (Nick Offerman) to score some grass. Jeremy introduces him to a friend, Charlotte Dylan (Laura Prepon).
It turns out that the 30-something stand-up comedian is into older men and she initiates an affair with the 71-year-old actor. He takes her to a minor awards ceremony, where he's to receive a Lifetime Achievement honor, and during the acceptance speech, he invites a random member of the audience up on the stage and gives the prize to her, on behalf of all the everyday heroes in the world.
The upshot of this is that a video of the event goes viral, which puts Hayden back in the public eye. He starts getting offers for voicework and a real part in a real movie. Sadly, there's nothing he can do win the affection of his estranged daughter Lucy (Krysten Ritter), who blames him for being too busy to bond with her when she was growing up. Ain't it just the way parent-child relationships often go? And his ex-wife Valarie (Katherine Ross) doesn't have much use for him either. Also very familiar, no?
Can't say this did much for me as a tale of May-December romance, but Elliott is always a treat to watch, and I could take a lot more of Prepon, clothing optional, even if her comedy monologue fell kinda flat. At Sundance, Haley got a nomination for the Grand Jury Prize (dramatic). See it for a rainy day matinee. It's pretty good.
★★★½ review by Hellasguy315 on Letterboxd
Sam Elliot brings it every time.
★★★½ review by Heath Rhoads on Letterboxd
Screw the haters, I really liked this. It's helped immensely by a terrific performance by Sam Elliott, as he plays an aging actor who is forced to confront his own mortality. Not only is Sam Elliott the coolest old guy I've ever seen but he's gotta have the coolest voice in the history of Hollywood! The cast is pretty great overall. Especially Nick Offerman as his drug dealing buddy and Laura Prepon as his love interest. Only in this movie could I believe that Sam Elliott could bag a woman like half his age. He's that FREAKING COOL!!!
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