84 user 46 critic

Henry Fool (1997)

R | | Comedy, Drama | 19 June 1998 (USA)
Socially inept garbage man Simon is befriended by Henry Fool, a witty roguish, but talentless novelist. Henry opens a magical world of literature to Simon who turns his hand to writing the ... See full summary »


Hal Hartley
1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »




Cast overview, first billed only:
Thomas Jay Ryan ... Henry Fool
James Urbaniak ... Simon Grim
Parker Posey ... Fay Grim
Maria Porter Maria Porter ... Mary
James Saito ... Mr. Deng
Kevin Corrigan ... Warren
Liam Aiken ... Ned
Miho Nikaido ... Gnoc Deng
Gene Ruffini Gene Ruffini ... Officer Buñuel
Nicholas Hope ... Father Hawkes
Diana Ruppe ... Amy
Veanne Cox ... Laura
Jan Leslie Harding Jan Leslie Harding ... Vicky
Chaylee Worrall Chaylee Worrall ... Pearl (age 7)
Christy Carlson Romano ... Pearl - Age 14 (as Christy Romano)


Socially inept garbage man Simon is befriended by Henry Fool, a witty roguish, but talentless novelist. Henry opens a magical world of literature to Simon who turns his hand to writing the 'great American poem'. As Simon begins his controversial ascent to the dizzying heights of Nobel Prize winning poet, Henry sinks to a life of drinking in low-life bars. The two friends fall out and lose touch until Henry's criminal past catches up with him and he needs Simon's help to flee the country. Written by Josh Mueller <jomuelle@mailbox.syr.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Comedy | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong sexuality, violence and language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »

Did You Know?


Henry Fool: We gotta talk. What the hell were you trying to do when you wrote this thing?
Simon: Nothing.
Henry Fool: Well, you know, you wrote it in a kind of iambic pentameter.
Simon: Iambic what?
Henry Fool: Verse. Look. In my opinion, this is pretty powerful stuff. Though your spelling is Neanderthal and your reasoning a little naive, your instincts are profound. But the whole thing needs to be given a more cohesive shape. It can be expanded, followed through, unified. Do you see what I'm getting at? Are you willing to commit yourself to this?...
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Crazy Credits

Grip Dog - Edie See more »


Followed by Ned Rifle (2014) See more »

User Reviews

A Cinematic Collision with Literature
15 November 2010 | by evileyereviewsSee all my reviews

This is a story of a whirlwind force of character that blusters in and transmogrifies a community for both good and bad. In doing so, the essence of the neighborhood is somehow brought to engender the truth of being, and to simply live life through experience, eschewing society's rules of proper conduct. In doing so, a caricatured world is created that seems pleasantly larger than life in order to express some greater deed. The result is brilliant. The characters are quirky and disturbingly fun, largely unbelievable and yet endearing in a unique fashion. The dialog was memorably sensational, with Henry Fool leading the pack with his celebrated utterances. The direction was the culmination of Hal Hartley's greater experience rolled up into one amazing flick. AS well, the camera man was unobtrusively masterful, using the tricks of the trade with subtle wit. Both painfully direct and wickedly humorous, Henry Fool ends with the same symbolic mastery of his awe-inspiring entrance. Merci beaucoup.

Genruk of Evil Eye Reviews

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Official Sites:

Sony Pictures Classics





Release Date:

19 June 1998 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Henry Fool See more »


Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$40,939, 21 June 1998

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

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Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
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