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.
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
When Henry and Mrs. Wyatt are talking in the backyard about the lousy stucco job he tells her "it's REALLY just a waste of time", but when Millie is playing back the recording she made of them talking, Henry says "it's KINDA just a waste of time". This shows that Millie's recorded playback was not their original conversation but was prerecorded. See more »
This used to be my room. This was the last place I remember being happy. And even then, I can barely remember it.
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To me the message was not about religion or faith or fatalism (those tones did exist for the supporting characters which provided the motivation for their actions). For the main character Henry, when faced with mortality he regresses to his childhood experience and family of origin seeking to sort out "where it all went wrong". He states when standing in his old house "this is where my happiness ended". So many times when crisis enters our lives we ask why is this happening to me and relate it to our history and upbringing - maybe blaming or finding reasons; just trying to make sense of it. The message in this movie for me is MOVE ON. Although we are who we become we can move past this. The past is not now, old sadness cannot taint our present happiness - or shouldn't. For Henry, "dying" as per his medical condition freed him from his past that haunted him. He was now free to live new, just like the previous owner of the house who "could not remember how to be sad after a life of sadness". The director did a splendid job of delivering the message in a subtle and poignant way.
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