Henry Fool (1998)




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Movie Info

Hal Hartley's best yet, about a self-deluding literary Pygmalion, a poetic savant, Queens and the rest of the world. A comic pageant of ironic gestures.
R (for strong sexuality, violence and language.)
Art House & International , Comedy
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
Sony Pictures Classics

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Thomas Jay Ryan
as Henry Fool
James Urbaniak
as Simon Grim
James Saito
as Mr. Deng
Miho Nikaido
as Gnoc Deng
Chuck Montgomery
as Angus James
Nicholas Hope
as Father Hawkes
Gene Riffini
as Officer Bunuel
Gene Ruffini
as Officer Bunuel
Veanne Cox
as Laura
Chaylee Worrall
as Pearl (age 7)
Christy Carlson Romano
as Pearl (age 14)
Melanie Vesey
as Go-Go Dancer No. 1
Denise Morgan
as Go-Go Dancer No. 2
Jill Morely
as Afternoon Table Dancer
Marissa Chibas
as Newspaper Reporter
Julie Anderson
as Woman Outside Store
Reggie Harris
as Anchorman
Don Creech
as Owen Feer
Camille Paglia
as Herself
Maraya Chase
as TV Reporter
Shoshana Ami
as Young Woman in Library
Karen DiConcetto
as Girl in Library No. 1
Tiffany Sampson
as Girl in Library No. 2
Rachel Miner
as Girl in Library No. 3
Paul Lazar
as Doctor
Valorie Hubbard
as Patty the Bartender
Fay Ann Lee
as Lawyer
Paul Greco
as Concierge
Blake Willett
as Cop No. 1
Raymond Cassar
as Cop No.2
Katreen Hardt
as Airline Ticket Clerk
Rebecca Nelson
as Flight Attendant Lucy
Paul Albe
as Angry Customer
Vivian Bang
as Teenager at World of Donuts
Brandon Boey
as Teenager at World of Donuts
Claire Ritchie
as Teenager at World of Donuts
Herbie Duarte
as Teenager at World of Donuts
Toy Connor
as Teenager at World of Donuts
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Critic Reviews for Henry Fool

All Critics (27) | Top Critics (3)

Embracing Hartley's motifs, such as the vicissitudes of fame and fate, the film is sharply uneven, meditative and touching in moments but also pretentious and overlong; it's the last decent movie Hartley has made.

Full Review… | April 30, 2006

Has some good acting and ideas, but Hartley doesn't seem to know how to end the thing.

June 29, 2004

The complexities and weirdness of popular culture provide the backdrop for this black comedy about creativity, politics, publishing, and mentors.

Full Review… | March 2, 2002
Spirituality and Practice

In better sync with its content, but its story, too, of an individual living in a dumpster world trying to share what he knows and make it sing, is undeniably moving.

Full Review… | December 31, 1999
Film Journal International

a deft, sometimes perplexing comedy-drama that stubbornly refuses to bow to convention or to soft-sell its darker, more upsetting aspects in the name of drawing a wider audience.

Full Review… | December 31, 1999

I was disappointed in Hartley's most ambitious film to date; I expected more than what was delivered.

Full Review… | December 31, 1999
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

Audience Reviews for Henry Fool


I enjoy this film as much as Fay Grim, I will check out more of Hartley's films.

Marion Ravenwood
Marion Ravenwood

Super Reviewer


This is a pretty strange movie. From the 1997 Toronto International Film Festival Collection. Henry is a Garbage Man who life is invaded by some pretty wild souls. A Mother who is depressed, a sister who gives it up to everyone. I am still trying to figure out the plot. Others have rated this movie 4 or 5 stars and beats me why. 2 1/2 stars is best I'll give this one.

Bruce Bruce
Bruce Bruce

Super Reviewer

I watched Faye Grim before seeing this movie. Now, as I watched this first movie, it was very hilarious and well written. Hal Hartley directed a fine piece here with great actors and worked with a great screenplay. It had me laughing out loud at some parts, and the story was great. Great comedy.

Donna Dawson
Donna Dawson

Super Reviewer

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