“Hello Herman” is a social commentary film focusing on the effects of bullying, parenting and other influences on a child who is being bullied. The film stars Norman Reedus (Darryl from The Walking Dead) and Garrett Backstrom. Is this a film a must watch or instead of hello Herman it should be bye Herman.
Story - “Hello Herman” is a story about Herman a sixteen year old boy who by a series of unfortunate circumstances gets pushed to the brink and ends up committing a violent act of huge proportions. Lax (Norman Reedus) is the journalist who goes into the maximum security prison to interview Herman and ultimately the two forge a connection and see each other for who they truly are.
“Hello Herman” has its heart in the right place. The movie does a stellar job of examining factors of the cause and effects of bullying and how it not only affects the community but the family of the one that committed the crime. I found this take to be refreshing because we rarely see how the family of the one who committed the crimes deals with the issues. I think the examining the cause of Herman’s reasons for his acts is what drives the movie. The movie has some good characterization on the two main characters Herman and Lax the reporter chosen by Herman to tell his story. With Herman’s character it’s about finding the layers of his madness, what is the button that pushes him to kill. For Lax it’s about finding these answers but at the same time trying to find a way to understand Herman, this works well as the two characters play off each other very well. Herman knows of Lax’s dark past and tries to get him to realize he too was a monster. Lax character is trying to come to terms with his past, while trying to move forward with his life and decisions that he is made. The movie is engaging on the character study point and the interaction between new monster and old monster is very entertaining. The only problem I have with the story is when examining Herman’s reasons for killing is finger pointing and putting blame. For example Herman plays videogames in the first person shooter genre in the film he states that is how I got such good aim, which places videogames to blame for his actions, then it was the music he was listening too and various factors in entertainment. The film doesn't point fingers directly at entertainment but it does make entertainment accountable for Herman’s action. Other than that little complaint the film is done well and you will enjoy the interaction between Lax and Herman.
Acting – The acting is done well by Norman Reedus. Reedus character is sympathetic, but what drives his character is when he has to come to terms with his past. The scenes of Herman asking questions of Lax’s past and his reaction and emotion Reedus shows was very well done. Garrett Backstrom does a stellar job as Herman. The highlight of his performance is when Herman fate is decided and you want to feel for his character, but can’t because of the actions he took. The last scene is very powerful as an audience member because you start to question is Herman really a monster or some misguiding kid. Overall the acting is well done by the main too leads, some supporting cast members might have been overacting just a bit.
Music & Film-Making – Overall the film making is very good for the budget it was on. The film doesn't get gory with the massacre but it leaves you with enough scenes to show you what Herman really did. The music is fits the tone of the film, but nothing really that will standout for you.
Final Thoughts - "Hello Herman" is not a bad movie at all, it might be something you want to make your teenage kids and junior high school kids watch. It has a message and that is stop bullying, while I don't agree with some of the social commentary it does raise questions on how can we handle our kids, and how parents can handle themselves more as well. This is a movie with a message, heart and it gets point across.