Fay Grim - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Fay Grim Reviews

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August 28, 2016
A sendup of sorts of paranoid espionage thrillers plays it straight with a manic energy and more convoluted twists than you can shake a stick at. FIlmed almost exclusively in so many dutch angles it could make Battlefield Earth blush. It is worth the watch for the performances of Parker Posey and Jeff Goldblum, obviously having fun. But the lack of any real substance and no through-line strong enough through all the twists to really feel like it matters.
August 19, 2016
starring the queen of indie cinema Parker Posey + director hal hartly= good viewing
½ December 29, 2015
"Henry Fool" was a strange indie dramedy about a weirdo writer who came into the life of a garbage man and inspired him to also become a weirdo writer. Writer/Director Hal Hartley revisits the characters created in that film 10 years later in "Fay Grim" and, to make things even stranger, turns it all into an international spy thriller. It is one of the strangest things, and I kind of loved it for that. The movie is a tad confusing and not without it's problems, but it is so unique and strange, and so unlike it's preceding film that it becomes something entirely different...it just happens to be inhabited with these quirky odd characters we've met in an entirely different kind of film before.
½ October 19, 2015
Fans of "Henry Fool" may dislike this sequal's complete disregard for the characters of the original film. But the most fervent of Hartley followers will no doubt praise the film as a brilliant deconstruction of the tacked-on cinematic sequel.
September 27, 2014
Fay Grim is Hal Hartley's sequel to Henry Fool from 1997 and it continues the story of Fay Grim who is struggling as a single mother after her husband Henry had to flee the country. Her brother Simon is in prison for aiding Henry in his escape and Fay's son Ned is becoming more like his father which worries her. So Fay thinks she's finally finished with that point in her life then 2 CIA agents show up wanting to read Henry's journals because they believe they may be treasonous and they need Fay to retrieve the final journals in Paris so they can piece together the mystery of what the journals point to and whether or not Henry is a threat to national security. So Hal Hartley has crafted a really fun spy comedy of sorts. Like with all Hal Hartley's films like the humor is really subdued. But I think this is one of his funniest movies because he takes this really crazy premise and just rolls with it. Jeff Goldblum is really awesome in this he plays Agent Fulbright who may know more information then he's letting on but he's also kind of oblivious about what's going on in his operation. This movie is really funny and smart. But in the last half the movie kind of starts to embrace the spy genre and it kind of starts to sink but it didn't kill my enjoyment. I still think this is a really smart deadpan comedy and it's one of Hal Hartley's best.
½ July 6, 2014
There are more than a few problems with this film, but it was cool just to see where "Fay" has ended up since the original film. However, like nearly all sequels - it fails to fully live up to the original.
November 27, 2013
My Favorite Film Is 1941's Citizen Kane.
Super Reviewer
November 18, 2013

*Takes a deep breath*.

I thank God because He made me objective and analytical in my film appreciation.

Let's.... dissect this mutant of a film.

Hartley is courageous. When there is a very risky project at hand, if you take it, you either win a lot or lose a lot. There are hardly gray areas in those cases. What Hartley wanted to achieve was a twist so unexpected that even close followers or Henry Fool fans would be surprised in the same way that Miike fans were not ready for something like Visitor Q or Happiness of the Katakuris. What if most of, if not everything that Henry Fool claimed to have done in the past movie turned out to be true? This plot unfolds.

Watching Fay Grim is like witnessing an imaginary, fictional "what-if" alternate reality in which the characters that were so much profoundly dissected and analyzed from their most hidden and rotten layers of personality take whole new, unrelated and implausible roles. The result is the cheapest excuse available: an international espionage drivel.

The reason that puts so many fans off is precisely such cheap turn of events. I don't. For once, I struggled, but succeeded at adapting an open mentality while repeating to myself: "This is a director taking risky chances with unexpected twists. Don't give up. You like that. You missed watching something like this."

But then the movie kept progressing, and not only was I completely uninterested at the plot elements and horrified with the poorly done technical qualities during the "action" scenes, but also I couldn't relate to the characters I had known beforehand so intimately. I felt betrayed and mocked. It didn't even achieve to be a quality action film or a smart comedic spoof. No. It was a pretentious and shallow plot-twist show.

So, I have a final question for Hal Hartley, if I may: What was the inconvenience of making Fay Grim as an independent film, completely unrelated with the characters? What were the aspects, either artistic or creative, that forced Fay Grim to become a poorly done and embarrassingly humorous vehicle of parody improvisations that forced its plot connections with the past film through ridiculous premises? This is not a sequel to Henry Fool. It's fucking Twilight Zone. It's a dream. It's a dream that Henry had in the previous film while being drunk and passing out in an outtake. Yes. That's gotta be it.

That's gotta be it, dammit!

½ August 1, 2013
At first, I didn't see the point in making a sequel to Henry Fool, which was a great film. But, that's what makes this sequel so interesting. You not only get to visit the characters 10 years later, but they are thrust into this new genre while exploring many of the same elements of the first film. Also Parker Posey rocks.
January 22, 2013
better than I expected, not as good as I hoped. it was wonderful to see the old gang from Henry Fool back together, and performances and camera work were as weirdly wonderful as ever. the writing, however, was just not as brilliant as the first time around.
December 7, 2012
A few flaws but otherwise enjoyable movie, may be boring moments but only fleeting ones.
September 25, 2012
Hal Hartley is sort of an acquired taste. But the literate dialogue and witty banter between Parker Posey and Jeff Goldblum is a classic experience.
August 29, 2012
Jason Bourne meets Parker Posey. Hal Hartley's "The Bourne Identity" but with more story and less (much less) action.
August 26, 2012
Couldn't even finish it. I watched directly after Henry Fool and it they were polar opposites.
August 19, 2012
I don't know what's wrong with half of the people who review this film... It is unquestionably one of my favorites. I saw it before I knew it was the sequel to Henry Fool, and I didn't care... I loved it the first time I saw it, and it gets better every time I re-watch. Park Posey is amazing as Fay, and the rest of the cast is brilliant, as well. The jumps between cinematic styles are humorous and intriguing...mad props to Hartley. Will we see a third installment come 2017? God, I hope so!
½ April 24, 2012
Successfully recapturing much of what made Henry Fool such an experience but without being a retread. Turning the focus on an older and wiser Fay Grim the story once again shows the ripple effects of on people having been touched by the presence of the mercurial Mr Fool. All the principal cast return in supporting roles with a host of new characters fitting perfectly in the Hartley world that so subtly made the original.

Fans of Henry Fool will not be disappointed, especially with the revelations that cast light on key, but unexplained, elements of the original.
April 5, 2012
I love Parker Posey. I'll watch anything with her in it.
November 11, 2011
its parker posey and hal hartley, people don't get regular movies, or action or anything how the hell will they get art house,
½ September 21, 2011
interesting more the 2nd time around, don't know why. parker is kind of awesome in this role.
August 31, 2011
Fay Grim is Hal Hartley's sequel to Henry Fool in which Fay discovers that Henry was not the louse in which she expected but rather the keeper of some very secretive government documents and that his his notebooks contained cryptic messages giving away these secrets. This sends Fay on a wild journey of espionage and intrigue to find Henry, whom she believes to still be alive. Fay Grim is a departure for Hal Hartley in that it doesn't feature the same peculiar dialogue which is a staple of his films. That isnt to say that it still doesn't have some Hartly-isms but its far more subdued than most of his work. I would also say that this is probably Hartley's most cinematic film in terms of direction, cinematography and editing. Harley uses a ton of canted angles throughout to really create this sense of unease and Fay tries to uncover the truth. During a few action scenes, Hartley implores an interesting technique in which he uses a bunch of single frames, reminiscent of La Jetee, to create a visceral way of creating scenes that were probably difficult otherwise considering budget was probably an issue. Overall its an interesting piece but I really thought it never really goes anywhere considering the subject matter, which lead the film to over stay its welcome. Its still got some great witty comedic lines but it just lacks the overall playfulness in which my favorite Hartley films have.
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