The Hero

From the writer/director of 2015’s I’ll See You in My Dreams that also starred Sam Elliott as a love interest, The Hero is a quiet sentimental film, with an excellent performance from the golden-voiced Sam Elliott, that focuses on an aging Western movie star in the twilight of his career looking for meaning in his life. Decades past his prime acting career starring in wildly successful Westerns like a film called The Hero, Lee Hayden, played by Elliott, is looking for his big return to the movies but spends most of his days smoking marijuana with his former co-star and drug dealer Jeremy, played by Nick Offerman. After learning that he has cancer, he begins a relationship with a much younger stand-up comedian named Charlotte, played by That 70s Show’s Laura Prepon. His passionate love affair and his desire to reconnect with his estranged daughter Lucy, played by Krysten Ritter, are means to come to grips with his mortality and former success. As he is coping with his own personal demons and illness, Lee unexpectedly lands the opportunity of a lifetime to star in a new blockbuster movie that could revamp his dying career. Throughout the film, there are also the sequences of Lee as if he was the character from his most famous movie The Hero facing situations involving death. Although there are some light-hearted moments, particularly with Nick Offerman’s character, the movie slowly traces, in a somewhat melodramatic fashion, the daily routines of a sick man trying to get back up on his feet. Mirroring Sam Elliott’s own acting career in which he is in an emotional twilight phase, Lee reflects on his successful yet complicated past while still holding out some hope for his future through his invigorating relationship with Charlotte. Overall, I found it to be a well-crafted indie drama that is a somber and emotionally raw glimpse into the universal story of aging and facing mortality, brilliantly anchored by Sam Elliott.

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