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An all time classic. Deals with the timeless struggle of artists vs reality of the working world. But it has a ton of intense sub themes(modern religion, fame, age-inappropriate sexual promiscuity, depression, artistic hedonism, the business of art). The performances are amazing, particularly by the genius actress Parker Posey and the totally unknown lead actor Urbaniak).
Odd indie picture from the late 90s about a garbage man named Simon who befriends a pretentious writer named Henry Fool that believes he is writing a masterwork that will change the world. He is encouraged by Henry to write and his work quickly gets some local attention, and eventually leads to world fame. It is a weird movie that just constantly stayed within the realm of odd and a little unexpected. I enjoyed it for that reason alone.
my fave Hal Hartly pic, so far anyway.
Unique and absorbing.
Deals with just about every possible human issue in an original way.
Considerably Hal Hartley's magnum opus. and in terms of it's commentary regarding the start of the dot.com era it can be considered prophetic. The story involving a failed author's fortuitous meeting with a young savant reads like an unwritten classic, and also goes in a very unconventional yet all encompassing direction. Pure Hal Hartley, as it's one of those rare American films that has the most epic scope yet the smallest of budgets, and succeeds exponentially because of it. It's musings on art and technology are sublime too, right before Hartley got a little too carried away with going digital.
Sick, twisted and wrong -- this is a classic bit of Cult Art Film that I will always love. Hal Hartley creates an unforgettable film.
An unusual independent film with flawlessly differentiated bizarre characters dangerously approaching an existentialist state of mind, Hal Hartley appears in the cinematic media with a feature that refuses to be peculiar. On the contrary, it intentionally filters its target audience once the film has begun with no prior warning.
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.
My introduction to the independent filmmaker Hal Hartley is "Henry Fool." My first observation was that it doesn't look like a feature-length film but one made for television. What stood out next was the actors' abnormal acting, especially of Thomas Jay Ryan as Henry Fool, who is not handsome and his face fits his rather strange movements of his body and neck. Ryan is a joy and a mild frustration to watch. He produces the vision in me of a leper in some film set in medieval England. Hartley does possess his own vision, it is difficult to figure out what he's trying to say, if anything. I don't think the story is heavily layered, he just doesn't reveal too much with his characters. James Urbaniak as Simon Grim is the other major character, his demeanor is very detached, he always has the same expression on his face. It's quite funny at times, but Hartley and his actors never show the desire to get a laugh from the viewer. The very last shot of the film is my favorite; it's probably the one thing that I truly loved not that I didn't like rest of the movie.
Without telling too much, "Henry Fool" is about how a janitor helps a garbage man become a writer.
I loved this movie. Haven't seen it in a while.