Movie/TV Reviews

Movie Review: Henry Poole Is Here

Grade: C+

Last night, Kevin and I watched “Henry Poole Is Here.”

Here’s the trailer:

HENRY POOLE is HERE is a comedic drama about a disillusioned man who goes hiding in placid suburbia only to discover he cannot escape the forces of hope. Returning to the middle class neighborhood where he grew up, Henry chooses to live in indulgent isolation. Real life, however, refuses to cooperate with his plans. Nosy neighbors interrupt him with curious visits and prying questions. Then the situation escalates as a stain on Henry’s stucco wall is seen to have miraculous powers. His last-ditch hideout becomes a shrine; his backyard turns into an arena for passionate debate about faith and destiny. Seeking anonymous oblivion, cynical Henry Poole instead finds himself right at the center of the human comedy. A modern-day fable investigates the unexpected wonders of the everyday. A faithless man finds hope. A hopeless man finds love. Whether backyard miracles are real or triggered by hope and belief, their personal effects are permanent.

“Comedic drama” is exactly what this film is. It’s a drama with funny bits; a comedy steeped in drama. In short, it’s about life.

I confess, there was a moment when I nearly fell asleep. This film is slow moving. It’s sobering. And actually, downright depressing. Luke Wilson spends most of the movie either frowning or being quietly pathetic.

But considering the news his character receives? It’s to be expected.

It’s rare to find a movie that depicts faith fairly – most of the time, I think films that have a faith-based theme distort, or depict faith as something to mock, or shun. And though Wilson’s character does just that, the majority of the characters in this film are supporting strong faith and the power of CHOOSING to believe in a divine being or power.

I found that incredibly refreshing.

The fact that miracles happen to a few characters in this movie solidifies, in my mind, the importance of placing our faith in God. Faith is hope and often times, it’s ALL a person has. Without hope, life becomes meaningless, depressing, and pointless. Because Wilson’s character doesn’t believe in hope, in miracles, his life devolves into an empty shell so that he’s reduced to waiting for the inevitable.

Granted, I felt a little uncomfortable with the notion that people were coming to worship a “stain” on Henry Poole’s wall, the meaning behind the misplaced hope was apparent. And who’s to say that that stain WASN’T a message from God? I suppose hope can take any form, as long as we’re not worshiping that manifestation.

Overall, I think the film did a pretty good job juggling a sensitive subject. The overall message of the movie was the importance of recognizing hope – that faith does indeed perform miracles, if one is willing to embrace it.

I’m really beginning to like these “real-life” movies lately. And by “real-life” movies, I mean the movies that do a pretty good job at depicting real-life issues. There are no spectacular special effects, or outrageous plot twists in these types of movies, but instead, they are movies that are designed to make you think and to appreciate life on many multi-faceted levels.