Provocative and rife with humanity
“Michelle Danner’s Hello Herman is truly thought provoking. The film’s primary timeline follows the aftermath of a tragic school shooting, and, most startlingly, does so from the point of view of the killer himself (played by Garrett Backstrom). Herman (Backstrom) agrees to do interviews with the film’s main character, Lax (Reedus), and it is through the course of these interviews that the full story is uncovered. The film is truly powerful, and does what I think many films are afraid to do, which is showing both sides of the story. I think its true success lies in the fact that it never forgives Herman necessarily, but highlights the humanity behind his role, and reminds viewers that the key to stopping these incidents of violence is not more violence, but perhaps more understanding. That’s how I saw it, anyway. Excellent movie, a must-see.”
Hello Herman Review
“I am such a Norman Reedus fan, so I was very excited to see that he was in a new movie this summer. I may have initially watched Hello Herman out of loyalty to Reedus, but I took away much more than just an increased respect for Reedus as an actor. Michelle Danner blew me away with her exceptional directing that gives us a stark look at the dangers of remaining inactive at quelling violence within our schools and our households. Danner, a renowned Los Angeles acting coach, set out to make this film with endorsements from top Hollywood producers, like Steven Spielberg. From the very beginning it throws you right into the chaos of a town torn apart by the school shootings of a student embittered by perpetual abuse from bullies and personal trauma from home. The film really captures the pain and grief that effects everyone within a town that endures such tragedies. This film will most likely go down as one of the most important and relevant films of 2013″
Marios Betancur- IMDb Review
Emotional and Relevant
Mass shootings in general, not just school shootings, are occurring more and more frequently in our society. The way Hello Herman approaches this controversial and relevant issue is refreshing. The filmmakers chose not to place all of the blame on broken families or violent video games. Instead, they present it as a complex issue. Hello Herman factors in the extreme amounts of media attention these shootings receive and how that influences violence, especially on a large scale. This heavy subject matter could have easily come across as insensitive. However, the incredible performances by Norman Reedus and Garrett Backstrom make for an amazing and emotionally charged film. I would definitely recommend Hello Herman!
Lindsay Mayone- IMDb Review
Very Pleasantly Surprised!
This film truly surprised me. I thought that the idea of school shootings had been overdone, but this film took a new twist on it. Comparing Lax’s experience with violence to Herman’s gave the film a new edge. The acting all around was fantastic and the balancing between innocence and evil in Herman’s character was really beautifully portrayed by Backstrom. His connection with Reedus was genuine and each actor was able to draw me into their character and make me genuinely care for them. The fact that this wasn’t completely focused on the school shooting allowed for a lot of character development which I really loved to see. I can’t explain how pleased I was with this film. The storyline, characters and cinematography were all so well done and made for a unique experience. I will definitely be watching this film again and would recommend it to others. Consider me a fan.
alyssaannewest- IMDb review
Haunting & Compelling
This a truly haunting film. Norman Reedus as an online journalist is understated and thoughtful. Garett Buckstrom as the teenager killer is oddly compelling. It’s a powerful subject, hypnotically rendered. And I found myself thinking about my own high school bully. Halfway through the film, my wife asked me, “Are kids that mean? The answer, alas, is yes. And the film shows the ways technology—Facebook and the like—renders cruelty both easier to commit and more harmful The killings in the film are rendered in freeze frame so that we see the horror on the victims’ faces, but nothing else. There’s plenty of gore, though, in the video games that obsess the teenage killer who commits the massacre. The film is part of the “Hello Herman Project” to create dialogue about school bullying. This compelling film is an excellent tool to get the conversation started between parents and children. Well worth watching.
rkfried- IMDb Review
Hello Herman Opens Communication
The social implications of the daring film “Hello Herman” cannot be ignored. Michelle Danner, the film’s director, gave her audience questions to ponder such as what can and should be done to make schools safer, why do some children commit such atrocious acts, and who are these children? The story unfolds with two parallel stories taking place. Both main characters have issues in their past, but they both deal with them differently. Through flashing back and forth through time, we see each individual unfold completely. Both Lax (Reedus), the blogger, and Herman (Backstrom), the shooter, are realistically complex individuals. The film captures this in a harsh and sometimes brutal way that was at times, difficult to watch. Delving more deeply into the rationale of a shooter, Herman reminisces about many forms of bullying; physical, verbal, emotional, and cyber. They all take a toll. Parental involvement, or lack thereof, and many other stressors are given for the viewer to consider. While this is a disturbing film, it is still a film that opens the doors of communication to discuss how we can address this alarming situation. “Hello Herman” takes us on that difficult journey of beginning to try to understand why this violence is happening to our children.
Pamela Powell- IMDb Review
Hello Herman is an emotional film that the audience embarks on and goes through the social issues of bullying and violence. I soaked into the entire movie, and I felt like I had taken part of this journey as well. Afterwards, I thought about past shootings and ways I can try to prevent future ones from occurring. The casting for Herman Howards and Lax Morales is effective as they connected well and made the story more believable. With each having their own ways of getting their fame and trying to understand their past, makes the film dynamic and creates the drama that I experience. By doing this type of film, most films usually stick with one point of view and runs with it. Hello Herman does a great job of showing both sides of the story: Herman and the victim’s side. By showing both sides, it makes the emotion more powerful and gets the audience involved. Herman tells Lax that he won’t be forgotten with what he did and after the film; my mind was wrapped around the subject matter and discussed it with people about it. I would recommend this film for parents and teens to look at the effects of bullying and how to find positive ways to cope with it.
Hana Sopuka- IMDb Review
A Relevant Modern Story
“Hello Herman” is the story of Herman Howards, a sixteen year old who commits an unthinkable atrocity at his high school. In the aftermath, blogger Lax Morales interviews Herman about why he committed such a violent crime and slowly discovers the reasons he lashed out while reminiscing about his own past. This dramatic, well-acted film is given power by the talents of Garrett Backstrom (Herman) and his incredible emotive skills. No one else could make Herman into such a sympathetic and yet detestable character. Backstrom’s performance is further enhanced by Norman Reedus’ nuanced interpretation of blogger Lax Morales. Together, these actors create a charged atmosphere that runs through all their on screen interactions. Their powerful performances make “Hello Herman” a must see film.
Jane Rose- IMDb Review