Henry Fool Reviews
It's naive, stagy, could use an edit but it's a small unique beautiful film that remains one of my favourites with an eponymous central protagonist that I still feel very connected to.
What's the target audience, you ask? It is incredibly hard to say. I invite you, therefore, to draw a personality forecast.
Simon is a garbageman that has a pretty much depressing and uneventful life, living with his sister and his mother, and vomiting (literally) on top of sluts' asses that seduce him while mocking him because he is nauseated at the sole concept of sex and suffering. These three people put together form a rather emotionally unstable and grim family to live with. One day, a supposedly talentless writer with a dubious and dark past appears, searching for a place to stay. Thanks to bizarre reasons, Simon agrees to shelter him with his family. It won't take so much time for Henry to spoil the family and turn things upside down... even for himself. While being a terrible influence for Simon's mother and Fay Grim, Simon Grim's sister, Henry awakes the "hidden literary and poetic potential" that was sleeping inside Harry for so long. After reading one of Simon's diary thoughts with a horribly constructed grammar, Henry's new goal is now to make something out of Simon's life. Why? Well, you'll be asking yourself what the hell is going on before you even think to ask yourself the motives of these alienated characters. Simon publishes his writings and becomes, indeed, a success; by a particular turn of events, now the tables for Henry and Simon are upside down, each one of them ending in the opposite places they were in the beginning.
What's in the middle of the film? Fragments. Yes. Fragments of democracy criticism, literary conservatism, journalism, family chaos, unstable relationships, confessions and the money-driven mentality of publishers not looking beyond the money rather than new ideas (we have heard the same story about geniuses over and over again, until decades pass and they are finally recognized).
I sincerely say that this was something I had never seen before. The aspects mentioned beforehand, along with the morally thought-prokoving ending (not an open ending really if you analyzed the characters closely) raised the rating close to a full 4-star score. Recommended.
Without telling too much, "Henry Fool" is about how a janitor helps a garbage man become a writer.
If you are new to Hal Hartley you can do no better than this and its sequel Fay Grim followed by his charming monster tale No Such Thing.