Actor Sam Elliott, known for his supporting character roles in such films as “Mask”, “Tombstone”, “Road House”, “The Big Lebowski” and “We Were Soldiers” takes the rare turn as the lead actor in the contemporary story called “The Hero”.
The plot is essentially about a 71 year actor named Lee Hayden (Sam Elliott) who back in the 1970’s was a Western icon with a recognizable golden voice. But he realizes his best performances are now decades behind him, so he spends most of his days doing voice over for TV product commercials and at night smoking way too much weed with his former co-star-turned-now drug dealer, Jeremy.
Early on Lee gets a surprise medical diagnosis that brings his priorities into much sharper focus. He also soon strikes up a totally unexpectant, exciting, but also sometimes contentious relationship with a stand-up comic named Charlotte who is very much younger that he is.
As Lee deals with his medical news he attempts to reconnect with his estranged daughter, Lucy, all the while searching for that one last final role to cement his legacy and take stock of his past mistakes back when his career always came first.
REVIEW: The Hero, while a small budge film, nonetheless exudes large authentic emotions that were spot on conversationally speaking, that felt like l was viewing Lee’s story in that very dramatic moment(s). You watch Lee deal with his life altering concerns of career and his health with the projection of genuine warmth, angst, humor, charm and fear.
Elliott’s costars Nick Offerman (best friend – drug dealer) and Laura Prepon (Charlotte – girlfriend) do an equally great job in providing for the overall arc of the film two genuinely decent "real people" who are naturally willing to help their friend deal with his real problems. But it is Sam Elliott’s fearlessly effective performance that is the most compelling component to this story with his rich voice and warm glances that keep you immersed to his every uttered word. Sometimes with the use of dry laconic wit and other times with his expression of moving and heartfelt emotions.
The Hero, is a very much understated and intimate piece that will never give you a “wow” moment along the way. But while it can be a bit melancholy at times, the story of Lee’s life is still a very pleasurable journey to watch.