Henry Poole Is Here Reviews

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TheDudeLebowski65
Super Reviewer
October 1, 2011
I was pleasantly surprised that I enjoyed this film as much as I did. I didn't expect it to be good whatsoever, but it was. I thought that the film, though not perfect had a pretty interesting story, with a good cast. The film could have been better of course, but for what it was, it wasn't awful. The subject matter of the film is a bit too preachy, but even with that in mind, it doesn't go overboard. The cast makes this film worth watching, and the story is pretty good, and I enjoyed the film. I wouldn't call the film excellent, but for what it was, it was a fine little film with a good cast, and the cast made the story more interesting as the characters they played were quite interesting, and with that, the cast selected for the parts are perfect for the roles. I enjoyed the message the movie delivered, and it had a funny, heartfelt emotion story to it, which a lot of films lack. Luke Wilson, whom I'm not a fan of delivers a good performance here, and he has good chemistry with fellow actress Radha Mitchell. Henry Poole is Here has good comedic elements mixed in with good dramatic elements. What made this film good for me was the good cast who made the somewhat ordinary story to be better. Sometimes a good cast can elevated an ordinary plot into something pretty good and this is the case with Henry Poole is Here. An engaging story with a good cast makes this a film that is far better than one might think. I had low expectations with this film, I it surprised me at how good it really was.
Super Reviewer
November 23, 2008
Didn't really warm to this. Not because of anything "controversial" about it - just found it depressing and boring. Radha Mitchell is good, as always, but this film is a snore.
Super Reviewer
December 19, 2009
So, it was another saturday...where I finally waltzed downstairs close to noon hoping for Hitchcock...I found this instead and was surprisingly delighted.

BFFFer -- I so think you would ADORE this one. Review, TBC.
Bill D 2007
Super Reviewer
December 1, 2009
"Henry Poole Is Here" is a wonderful little movie about the mystery of God (or whatever you want to call it) and the equally mysterious power of humans to save each other. It does at times get hokey and overly simple, and at other times the super-stylish direction becomes heavy-handed. But by and large, this film from director Mark Pellington (who has worked mostly in rock videos and television) is a refreshing joy.

Pellington, first-time screenwriter Albert Torres, and lead actor Luke Wilson all show impressive courage in going against the grain of a ferociously atheist pop culture by openly pondering questions about God and expecting an open-minded, intelligent, non-fundamentalist audience to stay with them.

Wilson plays a lonely man who's just gotten some difficult news and recedes into himself. He buys a non-descript, broken-down house in a disheveled, lower-middle-class corner of greater Los Angeles, where he leads the life of a morose shut-in. One day an image appears on the side of his shabby house, and an older woman who lives next door reads spiritual meaning into it. As a good college-educated atheist, the man of course laughs at her. But soon some inexplicable and powerful things happen that cause him and some other neighbors to start to wonder about the mysterious side of life.

A strong, almost eerie performance from seven-year-old Morgan Lily (a child actor whose career is definitely worth watching) expands the film nicely but does occasionally cause it to border on schmaltz. Wilson's consistent under-statement helps keep things from tipping too far in that direction, as does the nice, non-showy supporting work from Radha Mitchell. "Henry Poole" is recommended to anyone willing to consider the limits of atheist explanations of life.

The movie poster you see in the upper left makes the film seem sunny and light, which is not true at all. It's actually mostly dark and heavy.
Super Reviewer
September 3, 2009
Henry Poole Is Here is 90% sentimental bullshit that must've been written by a failed novelist turned theologian or vice versa. This movie is a series of cliches and overused plot devices (precocious teenagers, freakishly cute children, discovering the solution was in YOU all along) strung together to make a halfway decent movie that a l m o s t got me a little misty. Henry Poole Is Here was photographed pretty well even if you saw the ending coming from forever away. Luke Wilson did a decent acting job when he wasn't too busy squinting but beyond that I'm sure some religious studies class will love watching it at the end of the semester.
LorenzoVonMatterhorn
Super Reviewer
May 21, 2008
"Changing his attitude will take a miracle."

Henry Poole moves in to a house in his old neighborhood, to spend what he believes are his remaining days alone. The discovery of a "miracle" by a nosy neighbor ruptures his solitude and restores his faith in life.

REVIEW
Truly extraordinary dramedy about a sad and angry young man (Wilson in arguably his best work to date) who upon learning he is dying, buys a home in his old childhood memory and finds himself at the center of attraction when a mysterious stain appears on his house prompting a relentless next-door- neighbor (the wonderful Barraza) to claim it as a possibly miracle : since the stain looks like Jesus Christ. Added to the mix are Wilson's other next-door-neighbor (ethereally comely Mitchell, also giving a fabulous performance) and her silent daughter (newcomer Lily, a truly adorable and remarkably gifted young actress) whose equally somber lives intermingle with the reluctant new homeowner. Director Mark Pellington does an excellent job avoiding the mawkish and predictable with a splendid script by novice Albert Torres that is one of the best inspirational films I've seen in some time and how the need to make a connection/bond with another human being is overwhelmingly emotionally fulfilling. A small gem of a movie that had me in tears and smiles throughout.
Super Reviewer
September 10, 2008
Miracles can happen...
maxthesax
Super Reviewer
July 28, 2009
the bullit for this film says that it's a comedy - wow! It doesn't even attempt to be one, and there are no inklings that it wanted to be one.
Similarly, I read the synopsis and was wondering if we were talking about the same film.

To me, this film is all about faith, period! Miracles can be in the most mundane things (sometimes we don't even realize that we are experiencing one).

That a man can have his life shattered (by learning that he has an incureable disease) and then, if spite of everything, learns to cherish the simple things around him, like love and faith, is at the crux here; and as such it works, though it becomes a bit too formula and pat.

There are many nice touches here, but some missteps as well (the odd camera angles trying to show a man outside of his surroundings is a nice touch, but incongrous with the rest of the film). I also felt that the music video aspect was misplaced here, seeming to be filler that only supported what was already being shown, or was a cheap way of "telling" the audience what was going on.

The "6 months earlier" segue was childish and very tv movie - totally out of place here, while the conclusion didn't really hold any revelation (hmm, he wasn't sick after all, just misdiagnosed - kind of a cop out, but...).

I also found it disconcerting that the single mom next door seemed to never be working - what was up with that? did hubby walk out and leave her a settlement?

However, there are still enough moments of real truth here that propel this film away from rotten. The Hispanic neighbor was a wonderfully played role, and the interplay between Wilson and the single mom felt real (as were his sentiments, not really openly put out there, that getting into a relationship with a dying man was something to avoid).
Super Reviewer
August 21, 2008
considered for your approval: life is what happens when you were making other plans, or so a famous john lennon quote supposedly goes. in this case the man, with quite a few problems of his own, is constantly interrupted because his neighbors are of the opinion that a stain on his home is, like the shroud of turin, a holy relic. missing only the intro and closer of senor mister rod serling---along with the infamous musical coda---this is the story of what can happen if one only changes one's perspective, if one can, if one will...and one may, here, in the twilight zone.
Super Reviewer
August 23, 2008
Probably too simplistic, but I was deeply touched by this sweet, simple-to-the-bone movie.
Super Reviewer
½ June 14, 2008
What a great surprise. "Henry Poole," is a movie that shows, without preaching at all, that faith is something we all need and even though it is easy to lose, we can't give into the events in life that are not always to our best interests. Ignore the synopsis on this page and go get this movie right now. I cant even really put into words what this movie made me feel, it was just a good, warm feeling. For some, it may be a little to slow, especially in the beginning, but give it time, and give it a chance-everyone here is putting forth their best and Luke Wilson finally shows us what has always seemed to be in him. It is a genuinley moving film about life, and what it is at its core. I would reccomend this to anyone and only wish that it had recieved more attention. It is films like this that are too often overlooked when it comes time for these awards. Light movies that have meaning and laughter. I can only hope it at least becomes a hit on DVD.
Super Reviewer
½ October 26, 2008
Preaches to the converted and engenders cynicism among the skeptical.
Super Reviewer
½ August 28, 2008
An enthralling an inspiring movie with good acting (especially from Adriana Barraza), a great visual color pallette, and a very well-structured script that Mark Pellington, the director, took to new heights and made a very non-hokey or in-your-face Christian message in a faith-based movie. The story follows Henry Poole (Luke Wilson), a loner almost in the tradition of 'Lars and the Real Girl.' Over time, he adapts to the suburbian L.A. neighborhood he relocates to at the start of the film. Soon, you learn about his life a bit deeper and suddenly, you start to feel for him and root for him. The 'face' on his wall is from a bad stucco job, and people start to believe in it as the face of Jesus Christ. He still doesn't believe, but his human drama makes the film much more interesting than yet another hokey, Jesus-is-all drama. This is really a dramedy. And a very well-made one at that. One of the better films of the year. And Adriana Barraza's preformance is one of the best so far this year. Go see it. You'll have a good time learning why 'Henry Poole' is here.
whosinthenews
Super Reviewer
January 16, 2010
Henry Poole is your run of the mill feel good tale of redemption. Delving into broad, open ended spiritual issues it posits eternal questions regarding the purpose of faith. Is it a frou frou idea that fills us with positive thinking before our light flickers out forever? Or something tangible and with consequence? Whatever you believe this movie cops out big time by simply removing Henry's illness (in fact it never existed?), thus avoiding the inevitable spiritual crises the film, up until then, had mulled over so depressingly. Henry didn't have to make a choice. If anything he decides to symbolically destroy what was left of his faith only to be saved by "it" in the end...or saved by nothing. It could have merely been a reaffirmation that "stuff just happens".
The point then? Think positive until the end, regardless of what is or isn't going to happen to you...I guess...because it doesn't matter anyway. So try not be too bummed when the shit hits the fan, 'cus who knows, there might be a really hot chick living next door to you!

Well, in conclusion, if there's one thing I learned from 'Henry Poole is Here' it's that not only is everything sexier in slow motion, but it's also more deep and spiritual.
iLeo
Super Reviewer
January 19, 2008
An interesting movie that centralizes around a man who moves into a neighborhood, and highly prefers his solitude. When he meets his neighbors, things begin to change for him and the visits become constant when a neighbor believes she sees the image of Christ in a stain on a wall of his house. Great cast- Luke Wilson, Radha Mitchell, and Adriana Barraza. Great music. Worthy!
Super Reviewer
½ January 25, 2009
This movie had some pretty funny moments, but the religious overtones killed me...
October 7, 2012
i want to see more of these type of stories in theaters. it felt like an awesome independent film. :)
May 23, 2011
I imagine most people have been in a position of hopelessness. And I imagine many have also given up on trying to fight back from a position of hopelessness. For these reasons and more Henry Poole is a good story because it really touches on these issues and those of intervention and redemption. Good cast. One of Luke Wilson's best performances.
½ May 5, 2011
Henry Poole is without hope or faith and is trying to avoid any and all human contact.

Henry has moved into a neighborhood where he is unknown only to find that his neighbor, Esperanza, sees the "face of Christ" in the new stucco on his house. Insisting that it is a water stain, unable to remove it with bleach, and equally unable to keep Esperanza away, he agrees to let the local priest bring in experts for evaluation.

Meanwhile, we discover why Henry is hiding from the world and see him pulled into interaction despite himself with his neighbors. Henry provides the skeptical, reasonable voice of the world, wanting rational explanations and refusing to believe in ... "don't say that word!" ... miracles because those just don't happen. This provides not only many humorous situations but poignant moments as well. As the movie progresses we are aching to know if the "face of Christ" is genuine or only a water stain. Equally, we are aching for Henry.

In the most basic sense, the overall message of this movie could be that no man is an island, as Henry is unable to avoid people constantly reaching out to him in friendly interest. Those people spark a transformation that Henry can not possibly imagine as he continually attempts to bat them away. We do not see every situation resolved but the sense that resolution lies in the future is clearly present by the end of the film. The story overall is a human, interesting look at hopelessness and faith, isolation and love, memories and future.

There are some script flaws. There could have been more plot lines and a bit less telegraphing of some of the story. The flashbacks are awkwardly jumps in time and some story points move unrealistically quickly. However, it does not make claims to be something it is not. This is a little, refreshing, quirky movie with heart. I have watched many simple movies such as The Castle and Eagle vs. Shark with exactly those same qualities that have stuck with me for a very long time. This movie is no less.

Here is a no-doubt-about-it faith message that was delivered interestingly, and with realistic characters, using subtle methods to enhance the story. Predictable in some ways, it made us think along the way, didn't spoon feed us everything, and was far superior to Fireproof in technique and delivery. It speaks about faith and prayer in the way that normal people do, without stopping to deliver speeches about "accepting the Lord." As Tom says, "You can lead a horse to water, but you probably can't beat it to water."

An indie-style movie with a simple but well delivered story, it is a lesson in how to deliver messages when you're not already preaching to the choir, as "Christian" movies are wont to do. Excellent acting enhanced the movie greatly. For example, I have never seen George Lopez in anything but broad comic roles, which were painful, to tell the truth. Here he does a subtle, low key delivery as the very real seeming neighborhood priest who is called in to give judgment on the "appearance."

We appreciated the acknowledgment that it is possible to have a woman look beautiful and modest while dressing like a normal person. (No stereotypical "sensible" pumps, no frumpy blouse and skirt sets that your mother might wear, and no ugly hair styles ... yes, "Fireproof," I'm lookin' at you all the way here.) Equally, there is no immodest behavior although everyone's behavior is entirely normal. I particularly enjoyed the device of using the tape recorder to both engage Henry with another person and remind him and the audience of key points. As well, we both appreciated the sequence informing of us Henry's past while he is at the river. Artfully and subtly done, especially in a movie with this overall message.

The symbolism likewise was there for us if we wanted it but didn't intrude on our viewing. Take note of characters' names, keeping in mind Esperanza is Spanish for "hope." Equally, remember that a cross never shows up in a movie, even as a shadow, without the filmmaker deliberately placing it there (kudos to Tom who caught this one in the movie). As a larger example: Henry's house is empty, barren, dark, and bleak. A neighbor's backyard, likewise, is in stages of raw disorder, although their house is warm and inviting. We were shocked every time Henry left his home and we saw the neighborhood full of lush, flourishing yards and homes. The contrast between Henry and other people is shown to us thus to make an overall impression that sinks in at a level we did not have to have a spoken declaration to understand. This is not all but we will let it unfold for you.

Well done and definitely recommended for those interested in what they would do if the "face of Christ" showed up on the wall of their house.
February 13, 2008
This movie was good enough, but it was a little forced. The neighbor that discovered the face of Jesus in a water stain on the house was obnoxious and pushy which didn't make sense for the character. Wilson and Mitchell were very cute and awkward together.
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