Hesher is not a nice guy. He is rough with children, views women only in terms of whatever sexual pleasures they can provide and is a moocher with no jobs who has no qualms about destroying private property. On the other hand he might just be the homeless rocker equivalent of Mr. Miyagi, noisily allowing situations to unfold that will teach the new people in his life something about letting go. It is a risky balance for Spencer Susser to undertake in his feature debut and, against all odds, it manages to succeed with a pastiche of great casting and an unapologetic slant towards being anti-touchy-feely. Until it needs to be.
Young T.J. (Devin Brochu) is living in a house of sadness. And it's no wonder since when we first see him he's chasing down a tow truck to a junkyard where the remains of the family car will eventually be put to rest. His mom once sat in that vehicle. His dad, Paul (Rainn Wilson), sits in a funk all day, unshaven since the accident and only leaving the house to pick his boy up from school while his mom (Piper Laurie) quietly fixes their meals. Shortly after getting his cast off, T.J. has another accident and, in his frustration, awakens the sleeping shirtless giant of the unfinished housing complex. Hesher (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), with his cover blown, begins following around T.J. and soon settles into his house, washing his clothes and eating their food to almost no resistance from the nearly catatonic inhabitants.