Saturday, May 14, 2011

Henry Poole Is Here: Movie Review


Henry Poole is a character who will stay with you.

Henry Poole is here, but to him, only for awhile. Luke Wilson in a very mature and refined role plays Henry Poole, a character who has given up on the future—in every sense of it. He just wants to be left alone. But that becomes increasingly difficult when a devout Christian neighbour thinks a water stain on his wall is actually the face of Christ.   2008

Directed by: Mark Pellington

Screenplay by: Albert Torres

Starring: Luke Wilson and Radha Mitchell

For the most part, the turns from there are comical. The passion his neighbours have in their faith contrasted with his resolute atheism are played up perfectly without offending either. His internal conflicts of living a meaningless life are put on hold as he struggles with remaining in solitary but still being cordial towards his well-meaning neighbours who insist on trespassing, vandalizing, and gardening in his backyard. As his neighbours attempt to change his beliefs, he needs to start readjusting his views of life and the future.

There are some serious (at least to him) resolutions that Henry Poole has to come to. The fairly simple journey the film takes, and the rather profound journey that Henry must take, are slow, thoughtful, and meaningful. "Henry Poole Is Here" doesn't have to be viewed as a religion vs. atheism debate, because that's not what it is at all. It's just a character study.

"Henry Poole Is Here" got a limited release having been marketed as a religious film but then failing to win over that audience. It's DVD release still didn't get the audience it deserved. I was elated to find it playing on "Saturday Night at the Movies" on TV as this was a character that has stayed with me for two years. On repeat viewing, it was easy to see why. Henry Poole will be with me for many more.