Henry Poole moves in to a house in his old neighborhood, to spend what he believes are his remaining days alone. The discovery of a "miracle" by a nosy neighbor ruptures his solitude and restores his faith in life.
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In a working class neighborhood in Los Angeles, a world weary Henry Poole buys a house, caring little about its lack of amenities. He drinks and eats pizza. Recent stucco work has left a brown stain in a patio wall, and, to Henry's irritation, Esperanza, a neighbor, is certain she can see the face of Jesus in the stain. She brings her priest, then others. Meanwhile, Henry hears his conversations replayed over the fence in another neighbor's yard: it's Millie, about 7, mute, clutching a tape recorder. He tells Millie's mom why he's sad and angry. The face on the wall seems to shed a tear of blood. Is Henry beyond feeling any emotion? Written by
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On a marque crammed with tired summer offerings of over-the-top comedies and action films, I spotted the sweet, small film, "Henry Poole is Here." Like a name sprawled under an aqueduct bridge, it was barely noticeable.
"Henry Poole is Here" is a quiet little film with a big premise. What do you do when you're an atheist and you learn you have six weeks to live? If you're Henry Poole, (Luke Wilson), you buy a house in a neighborhood where nobody knows you, numb yourself with booze, and wait around to die - alone. Henry's plan to fade away unnoticed is disrupted when his neighbor, Esperanza, (Adrianna Barrazza) starts worshiping a water-stained image of Christ she sees on his stucco wall.
To make matters worse, Esperanza is moved to share this miracle with her church and friends. A silent little girl tape records Henry's pleas to be left alone. But Henry never gets his wish. The little girl and her luminescent mother (Radha Mitchell) enter his life to show him that we are all here for a reason. In fact, the whole neighborhood is there for him - whether he likes it or not.
The director, Mark Pellington, leaves it for us to decide whether we believe it's a miracle or not. At first, we don't even get to see what Esperanza is looking at. Later, we see the stain, but the face is kind of illusive - sometimes it's there, sometimes it's not. The film doesn't tell you what to believe. But it shows the strength in believing and especially our belief in others.
Hopefully, this film doesn't fade away unnoticed amidst the jungle of summer releases. Hopefully, it finds a community that believes in it. This is a movie about hope, after all. I, for one, believe.
Movie blessings! Jana Segal reelinspiration dot blogspot dot com
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