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Saw this tonight at Sundance and was torn between two notions: Notion
1: This is a classic Sundance movie. Starring Luke Wilson (now tell me
that doesn't just ooze Sundanceness! Dialogue driven. No special
effects. Low budget.
Notion 2: This is a real departure for Sundance. Gee, it seems to be religious, albeit in a weird sort of way. There are all these undertones of faith and hope and the priest doesn't come across as an idiot. When was the last time you saw that at Sundance? And I guess I agree with both. Henry Poole (Luke Wilson) is depressed, and for good reason. So he buys a house to get away. But a perceived image of Christ in a stain on the side of his house soon attracts the attention of a neighbor, who quickly invades his life. And then there's his other neighbor, a cute little girl with an even cuter (and divorced) mom (Rhada Mitchell) and he can't seem to get any peace, although that's probably good for him.
This is a very deliberately-paced drama with an occasional laugh and more than a little tension. Wilson seems to enjoy his role, and the quiet, loner type fits well within his standard range. Mitchell (Melinda and Melinda, Mozart and the Whale) is wonderful and lovely, as always, and George Lopez takes a little role as a Catholic priest. But veteran Mexican actress Adriana Barraza steals the show as the deeply religious and well-intentioned neighbor, Esperanza (meaning "hope" in Spanish, which is only slightly more subtle than the grocery checkout girl whose name is Patience, or the Rhada Mitchell character named Dawn).
If you don't mind slow movies, Henry Poole will reward you with a story that celebrates simple virtues, and suggests that there is plenty of room in this world for kindness and charity and faith and hope. Not bad for Sundance.
Sundance Moment: This looks like the first thing screenwriter Albert Torres has done in movies, and he seemed thrilled to be at Sundance. And while Luke Wilson was very quiet, George Lopez was a clown. Lopez said he and Wilson became friends on the shoot and recently joined with Samuel L. Jackson to win a pro-am golf tournament.
Though I do not believe in God, I did find this movie powerful and
extremely enjoyable to watch. Yes.... This movie will have a strong
impact on Christians and faith of God, but it also is a well written
and happy story. Luke Wilson does a great job as the main character
Henry Pool who suffers a terminal illness. His story gets even sadder
when he finds a love interest and her daughter who makes him happier
then he has ever been. In addition, his past seems to be filled with
sadness. Even if you don't believe in God, you will wish for something
to save Henry Pool. The characters are convincing and the story is
heart-felt. I'm sorry if you disagree with me, but for those of you who
are on the fence on this one, I don't think you will have any regrets
spending 8 or so dollars.
This is my first review. Hope this helps/ed!
My first reaction to this movie (which I had never heard of before
viewing) was one of satisfaction; it wasn't a bad movie but neither an
instant classic. I was pleasantly surprised. It was definitely better
than average, the sort of movie you are glad you rented out on DVD on a
quiet night in. Despite it's over all sad demeanour.
However, what I did not expect was the 'after thought' it left me with. Dealing with life, death and everything between, I started to ponder the movie on a different level. Unlike many other movies it was not forgotten and has some imagery that remains long after the movie has finished.
To me this movie, while somewhat invisible when compared to others, is a little under-rated and deserves a wider audience than the one it is destine for.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I'm surprised by the largely positive reviews of this film. Maybe it's
a cultural thing, I'm a European living in California. We went to see
this movie on the back of some positive press reviews. It starts well,
but I was misled by it's start. I thought this was going to be more of
a skeptical movie about the way religious people fool themselves into
believing what they want to believe (a little like the sentiments
behind "Life of Brian"). But no, the start is deceptive, as the film
progresses, it actually wants to start to make you believe that a stain
on the wall of a (supposedly) terminally ill mans house is the face of
god, sheds blood and has magical powers. Sorry, I couldn't suspend my
disbelief and the whole film then fell apart for me.
The lead character is supposed to be terminally ill, but his disease is unnamed, which I suppose is a good thing as it's difficult to believe what it could be as his only symptoms seem to be stubble and a craving for vodka and pizza. There is of course a beautiful woman who just happens to live next door who just happens to have a cute troubled 6 year old daughter, who of course the lead character falls in love with.
The whole thing descends into nauseating, saccharine, formulaic cinema. Towards the end I was beginning to laugh out loud in the cinema at the predictable happy every after ending, it seemed almost like some kind of spoof or wind up it was so corny.
But I suppose, if other people liked this then maybe it's a cultural thing. The US is a much more religious country than mine. I suppose that explains how George Bush got in - right?
At first, when my mom rented this, I was upset at the lack of appeal to
me. But, being an aspiring director, I agreed to watch it.
I'm glad I did. This movie delivers something to keep the mind thinking in not a puzzling, but creative way. The story is very inspirational and the music goes well with the message being delivered.
I totally agree with the previous commenter on that this film is something to be seen especially if you are interested in becoming a film maker.
You don't need blood, violence, language, and screaming to make something people will remember.
This is my first review on IMDb as well and I want people to experience this great movie!
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
"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
Why is everybody reviewing this wonderful film saying they did not like it because they do not like how it depicts a supposed miracle from a supposed god? I myself am a profound atheist. Hell, i'm even an anti-Christian. I'm not even baptised and I never went to church once in my life. I'm just happy that way :) But does that make this a bad movie? No it doesn't. The actors are absolutely brilliant and feel real-life. The camera-work pulls you right in. The story is simple yet powerful. The music is well-chosen, touching and stands on it's own in little moments of self-reflection. It had been long since I was this moved by a movie. Just watch it ... without presumptions ... without thinking ... and maybe you too will be moved.
I thoroughly enjoyed this film. I rented it without much awareness of
what it was about. Frankly, I had a free rental on my blockbuster
account so i decided i was in the mood for a simple indie flick. So i
I am so happy to finally see a very well made indie film that isn't about drugs, sex, suicide, extreme amounts of cursing, and all the other elements that seem to make up a "good" indie film. I recently saw "The Wackness" and realized how fed up I am with people praising indie films that have no real substance. A lot of them, "the wackness" included, say nothing new and rely completely on the use of drugs, sex, and things like that to be "interesting." HPIH is very refreshing to see. Its a very well made indie flick with a great cast, story, and message. Yes, anytime there are films that deal with religion in a positive sense, people will say that it is contrived or over done, but I thought this film dealt with the subject matter very maturely and enjoyably. I am a Christian guy, but i don't like to watch films that are overly preachy or are just blatantly religious. So, I usually do not enjoy "religious" films. That is why I am so pleased to see a real indie film that just happens to deal with religious subject matter in a positive manner. The film isn't perfect and nor is any other film. But it is a good example of how a film can be moving, entertaining, and just a plain good movie without promoting or recklessly using drugs, sex, cursing, and other crap like that.
I commend the people involved with this project. I am very surprised that it was made outside of the religious film world. Thank you to the people who believed they could make a film like this, and I hope that more people follow.
...and as such it doesn't do much for me. It uses the old and tried
recipe of the trial of faith story, where the nasty atheist and hater
of all thing living is brought to love life and thus save himself. If
only real life would work like that.
I can just imagine some poor sap, dying of a terminal disease, watching this movie and laughing his behind off while crying at the same time. This kind of a film is what romantic movies are for real life love: a fairy tale, a beautiful lie that makes one (not terminally ill) feel better about oneself.
The acting was top notch, I liked all that character interpretations, the soundtrack was full of Dylan and U2 (can't have faith without good music, after all) and, even if somewhat boring, it was a decent film.
However, for me personally, it was annoying as hell. Having identified myself with the main character, I kept shouting at poor Luke Wilson: "Use some paint!", "call the police!", "break the damn wall!". If neighbours in the US are like that, no wonder some people become serial killers :)
Bottom line: if you have faith, watch this movie. Faith that it would do something for you, I mean.
Definitely on my list of "must-see-once" films. Its a low-budget film, but makes up for it with acting, directing, story and in the musical score. Overall, its a beautiful composition and keeps one riveted, although lacking in frills. I disagree with some of the discussion that its an impossible situation, as I have seen a lot in life and to me its a composition of many different elements, even if rare or unnoticed. So much in life we never hear about. There are many outright miracles, even in our modern life and you will see them if you are fortunate enough. This film really shows the contrasting belief systems between those who simply can't believe in such things and those who perhaps, see miracles everywhere.
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