Nothing tugs at my heartstrings quite like movies where aging stars plays lightly fictionalized versions of themselves. From “Sunset Boulevard” to “Lost In Translation,” these films simultaneously give their actors an opportunity to deliver another powerhouse performance while reminding audiences of the ups and downs any lengthy career will encounter. And Brett Haley‘s “The Hero,” a film starring and not-so-subtly about the career of veteran character actor Sam Elliott, seems destined to be another welcome entry to this canon. Elliott told Variety earlier this year that the film was an “opportunity to really stick my neck out after doing 50 years of maybe a lot of one-note stuff,” giving the actor a chance to have the final say on how his career will be remembered.
Our review of “The Hero” at this year’s Sundance Film Festival called the film “a resonant depiction of a man fearlessly reckoning with his life, his image and, most importantly, his heart,” suggesting that the movie itself serves as the perfect Lifetime Achievement Award for its amiable star. The first moments of the trailer lean into this, offering a winking nod to Elliott’s voice work in commercials for Coors Brewing Company, Dodge Ram trucks, and the U.S. Beef Council. There’s a decent — albeit somewhat sad — chance that most audiences are more familiar with the sound of Elliott’s voice than the quality of his screen presence, but if there’s any justice in the world, “The Hero” will be the movie that connects Elliott with a new generation of fans. A man’s career should be more than just a bushy mustache and a gravely voice, don’t you think?
Here’s the full plot synopsis for “The Hero”:
Diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, an aging actor tries to reconcile with his estranged daughter while striking up a new relationship with a wild woman.
“The Hero” also stars Laura Prepon, Nick Offerman, Krysten Ritter and Katharine Ross, Elliott’s real-life wife. You can find it in select theaters on June 9 of this year.