Movie, Reviews

“The Hero” Touching and Sincere

Another touching and sincere indie film, The Hero reaches out and grabs you while it plays to your heartstrings. Star of the film, Sam Elliott is such a good actor his performance alone has enough worth for a trip to a theater to watch him perform on the big screen. But you will get far more in the direction and writing of Brett Haley who paces the film in a way that intrigues while it entertains.

Long time movie and TV western’s actor, 71-year-old Lee Hayden (Sam Elliott), has been in a slump having to do periodic bar-b-que sauce radio ads. To make it even worse, his doctor has informed him that he has pancreatic cancer. Down on himself and being a loner since his divorce to Valarie (Katharine Ross), he has not informed her of his illness. To add more to his “broken plate”, his daughter Lucy (Krysten Ritter) has been at odds with Lee since the family broke up.

Nick Offerman as Jeremy and Sam Elliott as Lee in THE HERO

While at his best friend and drug source Jeremy’s (Nick Offerman) smoking weed, 35-year-old Charlotte (Laura Prepon) comes buy to make a score. Jeremy introduces her to Lee and she is charmed at first sight. When they meet by chance again, the two decide to start seeing each other.

Charlotte (Laura Prepon) and Lee (Sam Elliott) attend an awards dinner in THE HERO

With a spark of romance and a chance awards ceremony, things start looking up for Lee. But leering in the background is fate and reality. Director Brett Haley who brought I’ll See You in My Dreams to the screen that had Sam Elliot in a key role, takes his time developing this different romantic drama. He moves his characters in and out of the story creating little events that cause a rollercoaster effect of highs and lows.

Sam Elliott as Lee Hayden and Laura Prepon as Charlotte in THE HERO

He’s even able to get a good measure of sincerity from support characters to offset Sam Elliott’s low key persona so the film does not get too gushy and maudlin. And he creates a chemistry between Laura Prepon and Elliot that’s extremely potent even with the age difference. The two turn up the heat and cool it a bit before leading into a finale that insures the film to be a winner.

The Hero has been rated R by the MPAA for drug use, language and some sexual content. The drug use gets quite abusive even though you know the central character has a death wish. But, it also can be taken as a realistic look at the profession of acting that has had a lot of problems with this kind of abuse as reported in the media.

FINAL ANALYSIS: Very good performances and pin point direction make the film a must see for romantics and indie lovers.

Additional Film Information:
Cast: Sam Elliott, Laura Prepon, Krysten Ritter, Katharine Ross and Nick Offerman
Directed and written by: Brett Haley
Genre: Comedy, Drama
MPAA Rating:  R for drug use, language and some sexual content
Running Time: 1 hr. 33 min.
Release Date: June 23, 2017
Distributed by: The Orchard

The comments within this review are the critic’s expressed opinions

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Film Editor John Delia has been on all sides of the movie business from publications to film making. He has worked as a film critic with ACED Magazine for more than 12 years and earned a Bachelors degree in communications from the University of Florida. John is a member of the Southeastern Film Critics Association. Follow John on Twitter @staragent1 or send John a message at


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