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
Patience's glasses were extremely thick, indicating they had a lot of power in them, further evidenced by how little she could see without them; however, they displayed little to no magnification effect, which means they in fact had no or very little power. See more »
[Henry is the target of a surprise water balloon attack]
I surrender. You win. I surrender.
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Henry Poole is a character that will stay with you
Henry Poole is here, but to him, only for awhile. Luke Wilson in a very mature and refined role plays Henry Poole, a character who has given up on the future—in every sense of it. He just wants to be left alone. But that becomes increasingly difficult when a devout Christian neighbour thinks a water stain on his wall is actually the face of Christ.
For the most part, the turns from there are comical. The passion his neighbours have in their faith contrasted with his resolute atheism are played up perfectly without offending either. His internal struggles of living a meaningless life are put on hold as he struggles with remaining in solitary but still being cordial towards his well-meaning neighbours who insist on trespassing, vandalizing, and gardening in his backyard. As his neighbours attempt to change his beliefs, he needs to start readjusting his views of life and the future.
There are some serious (at least to him) resolutions that Henry Poole has to come to. The fairly simple journey the film takes, and the rather profound journey that Henry must take, are slow, thoughtful, and meaningful. "Henry Poole is Here" doesn't have to be viewed as a religion vs. atheism debate, because that's not what it is at all. It's just a character study.
"Henry Poole is Here" got a limited release having been marketed as a religious film but then failing to win over that audience. It's DVD release still didn't get the audience it deserved. I was elated to find it playing on "Saturday Night at the Movies" on TV as this was a character that has stayed with me for two years. On repeat viewing, it was easy to see why. Henry Poole will be with me for many more.
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