Lee Hayden (Sam Elliott) is an aging Western icon with a golden voice, but his best performances are decades behind him. He spends his days reliving old glories and smoking too much weed with his former-co-star-turned-dealer, Jeremy (Nick Offerman), until a surprise cancer diagnosis brings his priorities into sharp focus. He soon strikes up an exciting, contentious relationship with stand-up comic Charlotte (Laura Prepon), and he attempts to reconnect with his estranged daughter, Lucy (Krysten Ritter), all while searching for one final role to cement his legacy.
Writer/director Brett Haley (I’ll See You in My Dreams) returns to the Sundance Film Festival with another sharply observed exploration of aging. Aided by a never-better Elliott, Haley has imbued this character study with personal details and characterization that make the film resonate. The Hero is a sometimes difficult, yet warm and ultimately touching portrait of an artist who realizes he isn’t quite ready to hang up his spurs.