Juggling a job as a waitress and raising two boys on her own--little Peter, and the 11-year-old child prodigy, Henry--the single mother, Susan Carpenter, has a somewhat chaotic life, depending on Henry to manage the household's finances. However, things will take an unexpected turn, when Henry's innocent crush on the beautiful girl next door and hopeful ballet dancer, Christina, unveils a cruel and shocking revelation, dragging Susan in the middle of a dark conspiracy. Will the Carpenters take the law into their own hands; moreover, what's written inside Henry's little red book?Written by
Henry is seen using a payphone to make stock trades. He is using fractions. While it could be just his personality/condition, US markets switched to decimals on April 9, 2001. Later in the movie the doctor shows the MRI scan on a tablet too advanced for pre-2001. See more »
The film was shot for the Univisium aspect ratio of 2.00:1, but was presented theatrically in the standard 1.85:1 aspect ratio. The Univisium ratio is preserved on the home video release of the film. See more »
Seriously underrated, and a great example of a filmmaker breaking all the conventional rules.
It's a rare occurrence in which I heavily disagree with critical responses to films. I had no idea what The Book of Henry was about. I hadn't watched a trailer and I hadn't read the IMDb synopsis. Save for watching a web critic's review (which was stunningly brief in plot description), I knew nothing going into this except that it was directed by Jurassic World's Colin Trevorrow, the man at the helm of 2019's Star Wars Episode IX. If I had seen the overwhelmingly negative reviews for this film prior to trekking down to the cinema to see it, I probably would have skipped out. Then again, it was either this or Transformers: The Last Knight, and I know well enough by now not to see a film with Michael Bay's name attached to it. But, here we are, I've seen The Book of Henry, and I really like it, disagreeing with the negative critical reception it has received.
It's difficult to dive too much into the plot of the film. That's not because it's hard to follow, but it fares better the less you know about it. Henry (Lieberher) is a kid genius. Inventive and constantly thinking, Henry is the man of the house. He looks out for his little brother Peter (Tremblay) at school and even provides guidance for his video game playing, picture book creating mother Susan (Watts), and going as far to even take charge of their financing. When he suspects that his next door neighbor and fellow classmate is being psychically abused by her stepfather, he takes it into his own hands to save her. And that's all I'm going to say, because the less you know the better.
I'm quite surprised by how many critics have trashed this. Naomi Watts is on top form here and carries the emotional weight of the film, and Jacob Tremblay (of last year's excellent Room) is again fantastic albeit playing a smaller role. Lieberher completely sells it as Henry and is likable as the title character. Michael Giacchino (composer of films like Inside Out and Rogue One) creates a beautiful score that fits the film perfectly, and Trevorrow's direction keeps the film afloat despite a few screenplay misfires. For the most part, the script works despite its somewhat unconventional narrative, but I found it continuously unpredictable and responded heavily to the performances, especially Watts. There are a few small misfires but on the whole, it works in its own peculiar way, and the film is beautifully shot.
Whilst The Book of Henry is certainly not for everyone, it had me from the get go. I was at first concerned with Trevorrow being the director for Star Wars Episode IX, but now I'm intrigued to see where he takes it. I'm grateful not to have known anything about this film before letting myself become absorbed by it, and I thought about it for a long while afterwards. On this rare occasion, ignore the bad buzz and give it a go.
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