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Henry Poole Is Here
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Henry Poole Is Here More at IMDbPro »

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6 out of 13 people found the following review useful:

Catholic Propaganda

Author: Miguel Varela from Spain
30 May 2009

No more to say. Very predictable. I ignore who paid this ****, but I can imagine. Religion... you know, they have (and need) the power to control people. And how they do it?. With **** like this. This film is simple propaganda, is a wasted of time for intelligent people who believe in science, who don't believe in sobrenatural men like Jesus Christ. In one word: bull*** You can see, instead of seeing this piece of crap, the Zeitgeist documentary (search for it) which is more useful for your personal knowledge. Please, people, believe me, this **** was made for one only reason in mind, it's not art, it's not a reflect of the real life, is propaganda of a organization that needs your money, your time, your lifestyle and your freedom to choose what you want to be and do the rest of your life.

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23 out of 47 people found the following review useful:

A slightly quirky movie-length Touched By an Angel

Author: from United States
14 August 2008

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I saw this at a free advanced screening, and I got what I paid for.

Going in I knew very little about the movie, which starts out intriguing enough. After Luke Wilson's character moves his scant possessions into a bland suburban LA house, bought for its proximity to another house not for sale (even after offering "whatever they wanted"), he notices a curious mark on the newly refurbished stucco exterior.

He actually didn't want anything in the house fixed (or the price negotiated), but the real estate agent had the sellers fix the stucco anyway -- which we learn from the agent herself, who actually appears moments later in his backyard just to check on him. And so begins the first of many improbable "saviors" to appear intrusively in his life (and backyard). Count also the nosy Hispanic neighbor, her priest, the chirpy supermarket cashier, the conveniently hot and newly single other neighbor, her eccentric six year old daughter, and then some. Wilson's character looks obviously depressed and repeatedly asks to be left alone, but in the writer's imagination apparently that's a great way to build social capital!

If this strains your suspension of disbelief, you're likely not in the target audience, because (as later discovered in the poster ad) the central plot element is a miracle. Not even a metaphorical or quirky miracle (e.g., the frogs in Magnolia), but the most cliché one possible. Despite this, the movie was at an indie theater and seems marketed at the Sundance crowd. There were some quirky stylistic elements and the soundtrack had the likes of The Eels and recent Bob Dylan, but the movie was heavy-handed, sentimental, unbelievable (on multiple levels), and predictable. Imagine a Sunday night Hallmark Special going for the faux-profundity and style of "Crash" and "American Beauty."

It'll probably get nominated for an Oscar.

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0 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Playing to the need to believe

Author: bobbymeizer from Santa Cruz, California
29 May 2011

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This is a slickly-produced movingly-scored well-acted piece of sappy sentimental crap. Avoiding any real consideration of the fundamental issues in these kinds of pareidolic manifestations (if you look that word up you'll find that it refers to the ability of human beings to see patterns in random phenomena, you know, like the images you can see in clouds), this movie instead goes for the easy cheap shot. It's real blood, it's unexplainable, it must be a miracle. Everyone is healed, and the guy gets the girl (and her cute kid) to boot. There was actually a good idea for a movie hiding in there somewhere, a movie that explored the psychological dimensions of spiritual experience while avoiding simplistic and unrealistic "Hollywood" endings. But no, that is not this movie. If you have a critical thinking bone in your body, avoid this film.

(a footnote: when I was twelve my parents had the shower in the kids' bathroom re-tiled. I discovered that right at my height was a tile which had a pattern where you could very clearly see the face and head of Albert Einstein. I was so taken by this that I showed it to a number of people, and they could see it too. These were machine-made tiles with a swirling random pattern. The makers of this movie might have concluded that this said something about the sanctity of a great scientist. What it did for me was cultivate an awareness of and an interest in the phenomenon of pareidolia.)

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0 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

just a movie-of-the-week in the guise of a deep indie

Author: deschreiber from Canada
14 May 2011

I agree with all the other comments here that call this movie far-fetched, treacly, hard to stomach, etc. It may begin with the air of something different, something unHollywood, but soon it reveals itself as Hollywood all the way, with a predictable plot, stupid sentimentality, brainless deference to religion (oh, faith! oh, hope! oh belief! the answers to all life's hardships), wonderful coincidences (gee, I'm lucky, just as I settle down to wait to die I find myself next door to a beautiful, available woman who falls for me) and a standard fairy- tale ending. All that is enough to rate this movie a waste of time. But I would add to what other critics have said that it is S-L-O-W, which is not far off from saying it's boring. Finally, about that sound track--it can sometimes be pretty hard to take; you'll get the feeling of it if you imagine one folk singer after other alone on a stage strumming and bleating.

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2 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

Sun tan does rapidly peel

Author: doctorsmoothlove from United States
13 March 2009

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Reviewing movies usually does not permit me to bluntly address you, my audience. I have tried to recreate my speech in previous reviews I've written. My voice should reveal itself through my writing. Sometimes, please forgive me; I will talk directly to you. When I encounter a film like Henry Poole is Here, I must reveal something personal. I am an atheist, audience this movie most assuredly doesn't expect. This, of course, stains my analysis of it (which is why you should always read three or so reviews of a movie).

There are many benefits to belief in a higher power (assuming one's religion has such). The blood of deities flows warmly into all who drink of it. They live with the expectation that something outside of their responsibility will protect them from harm. It doesn't matter if this actually happens, and Henry Poole is Here recognizes that. The film glorifies innocuous belief in some god, whether it is Christian or not. Since I'm not religious, I think I'm able to criticize the movie's failure to represent all aspects of intense belief. I felt it was a naïve movie, but I appreciated the effort to not attack those without faith. A movie like this one is only possible in a society like ours in North America. We've not yet disavowed our cultural dependency on religion like Western Europe has, so we have movies that aren't able to directly say "religion x is great." Many devoted religious people live Western Europe, of course, but religious overtones are not widely present in society. So, our non-specific faith-based films cutely display any religion's general goodness. A film like Henry Poole is Here wouldn't be made across the pond unless it was a completely independent project. Most people would have no need for it

Henry Poole moves into a neighborhood and notices a strange water stain on his home. His devout Hispanic neighbor says that it looks like Jesus, which Poole dismisses as lunacy. She convinces many people it is Jesus, so everyone violates property law to check. People consider it a miracle once individuals are healed after touching it. Poole is the most skeptical person ever and refuses to believe its power. He looks like a depressed guy (even more so as he continues to deny the Truth), the kind who you expect to commit suicide any minute. Anything negative about Poole's life would have sufficed (for this plot), as long as it was resolved when touched the stain. He indirectly does, when he succumbs to anger and smashes it. He finally realizes the stain is Jesus, or his silhouette, which collapses any strong support I offer the movie. All his problems vanish instantaneously. The ending struck me as inappropriately abrupt, as well as slightly condescending.

It's also extraordinary that Mark Pellington adapted a screenplay from such a trivial event. Everyone chuckles at the casino that bought Virgin Mary grill cheese sandwich. It's an absurd idea to think any stale food item could contain divine presence. Wouldn't a supreme deity chose any other way to manifest itself? Why would it conceal itself so discreetly? Assuming it has stereotypical human qualities, a deity would display itself inconspicuously. People are not so mysterious. Ayn Rand was at least able to acknowledge our selfish pursuit of seemingly everything. Humans, thus, are endowed with a certain inalienable penchant for self-infallibility. We look for evidence that doesn't exist when we interpret new data because we couldn't possibly be incorrect (stop reading for a moment). Henry Poole is Here offers us the chance to visualize this process as if it were realistic.

Unlike Lars and the Real Girl, another movie based on popular cultural occurrences, Henry is trapped by its own indulgence in its charming plot. The story meanders too long, including characters, backstory, and entire sequences for no adequately explored reason. Luke Wilson stays sharp, or rather, aloof as he guides Poole to his awakening. His somnolent eyes never permit us to leave his character. It's an eerily commanding performance. Wilson goes beyond requirements for his role, which allows individual intimacy with Henry. Shame the movie asks nothing more of him than getting Poole to believe.

15th of 2009 *** out of *****

*** out of *****

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3 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

Full of clichés

Author: devrimbaris from Turkey
26 May 2009

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Let me count the clichés first... -man who is gonna die soon drinking lots of alcohol -Beautiful woman as a neighbour -Cute girl at 5, with a family problem -Wise church man -Lots of wise talk over and there

... and many more.

I love mystery tones in the films , I just like it. In this movie it is this tone that makes you watch it. They know it so they hold the tension throughout the movie. If it was revealed at first then you interest would be lost and there is nothing more in this film.

The script is so much relying on the formulae, like many of such films do, in fact I guessed the wall would fall apart on him when he took the hammer.

So cliché but I like cliché films, but that wont prevent me only giving 4 stars.

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3 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

Over analyzed and not very interesting...seems like Atheists find it amusing

Author: Robert W. ( from Ontario, Canada
16 February 2009

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The idea behind the film is simple...touching, moving, mysterious and religious, something anyone can get behind regardless of their beliefs. The concept and idea is decent but the delivery falters a great deal. I do consider myself a religious person who does believe in God and in reading other reviews it seems like reviewers who are stone cold atheists or don't have any religious ties enjoy the film more. And then there are some who just call it preachy rubbish. I don't find the film preachy because I think the viewer is the only one who makes something preachy but it is predictable, slow moving and without a lot of depth considering the content. The main character is extremely predictable and no one ever enters the film who really gives it any meat and potatoes. It feels like a TV movie made by a Church drama group and it just doesn't really impress on any level. The entire film could have been summed up in a half hour and still given the same effect as being two hours.

I am not a big fan of Luke Wilson by any means. He has made his share of mistakes and never really impresses in a role. He has had a handful of fortunately decent movies but never because of him. Wilson over acts and churns out predictably as Henry Poole, a terminally ill, depressed and broody man who just wants to be alone. The character is not unwatchable but the sheer idea that a better actor could have done so much is too much to bear. Radha Mitchell is the "hot" neighbor who ends up being Wilson's love interest. Mitchell is probably one of the better performances in the film and I would have rather seen the story from her perspective than his. She is a good actress but is given very little to work with in this film. Adriana Barraza also does a decent job as the quirky neighbor who will do anything to experience the "miracle" of Poole's backyard. Barraza and Wilson have some good chemistry working together and their banter is one of the few redeeming qualities in the film. George Lopez gets top billing for a very small role that is virtually pointless. It's not to say he couldn't pull off drama but this film doesn't prove anything.

The last person I would take on as a director for this type of film is a former music video director but sure enough Mark Pellington tries his hand at religious drama and I think causes the main problem with the film. The only setting for the film is this man's house and backyard and it's just boring to watch. The story and idea behind the miracle is not made impressive enough to keep the story rolling. The film is not a complete disaster but when all is said and done it's just not worth watching. I'm not even sure that church goers would even take to this film since it doesn't really focus on any denomination or aspect of the miracle. When all is said and done this one is absolutely over lookable, I mean if you catch it on TV and have nothing else in the world better to be it but you won't find fulfillment or entertainment on this one. 5/10

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7 out of 16 people found the following review useful:

Pretentious before it gets even more pretentious

Author: p-stepien from United Kingdom
22 March 2009

The movie starts off nicely and I was actually expecting to see an out of the box intelligent comedic drama. But as the movie goes on it starts self-indulging into its own formula. It quickly gets pretentious and very fake. Slow and sulky music fills in every scene and your standard myriade of sad run-down characters appear. Most of them seem very cardboard and as time goes own it becomes obvious the movie does not intend to really say anything meaningful. Instead it just pretends to do so.

The music becomes even more tear-jerking, the story-line starts going downhill in a predictable direction and you quickly get tired of looking at all the long shots of poor tormented individuals. The religious 'turn' in the movie doesn't help it the least.

Overall unless you feel like watching it in fast forward don't bother.

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18 out of 38 people found the following review useful:

2 hours of Christian preaching!

Author: kjartansk from Denmark
14 October 2008

(read this before watching.) yes 1 star is pretty low, but i leave the detailed ratings to the real movie commentators i can simply tell you if A movie is worth watching or not, and if your not going to convert to Christendom any time soon i serious doubt this is A movie for you, because there is little to no non-religious-substance in this movie, yes the acting is proper and it actually has an interesting beginning, but then you soon realize that the story is A closed circle with little to no escape, and then suddenly its to late, and you wasted 2 hours of your life.

Kind regards: Concerned Viewer.

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2 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

A good watch, but message is a little jumbled

Author: mrtimlarabee from United States
24 January 2009

Despite the fact that this film does deal with the face of Jesus appearing on the side of a house, it doesn't say 'the face appeared, so you must believe.' In fact, there seems to be a message concerning overall faith, even on a secular level, in oneself. Though it fails as it becomes a jumbled affair with too many characters sending too many mixed signals.

The movie begins with an apathetic, unshaven Luke Wilson buying a rather pricey small house in California, literally drinking his life away. We find halfway through the movie (and on the back of the DVD case) that he supposedly only has six weeks to live. In the midst of all this, the face of Jesus has appeared on the side of his house, believed to be a miracle by all in the neighborhood but him.

For me, the film was a predictable affair. Perhaps by the mere description you can call how it ends. I did. The trip there was a little rough and a little fun. The good was in the acting, particularly Luke Wilson. Wilson plays the "down on his luck" everyman fairly well. He also gets a good little emotional scene that's removed from his more recent comedic outings.

And while the story is intriguing, it's muddled by too many characters that sometimes detract from the film's theme. Perhaps the writer didn't realize they were doing this. At certain points, it seems like its wearing it's religious beliefs on its sleeve, like in the priest character on in the supermarket girl Patience (which I'm sure has some meaning in this film). By the end of the film, I felt the message had a universal appeal, in spite of the supporting characters. The many characters muddled the themes.

Overall, the film is worth a watch, particularly for the always dependable Luke Wilson. It incites a little discussion and while others have felt it a little too religious need to remember that some films do require a little thought, and I personally feel that this film does speak on a more universal level, not just on a religious one. The trick is not to let the many characters distract you.

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