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 »
I'm convinced I'm the only one who thought this wasn't so bad
"Violence isn't the worst thing in the world. What is then? Apathy."
I'm sure that some movie critics of reputable newspapers ("The Guardian" and the like) and magazines are awful, out-of-touch guys, who pine away on a dusty attic avoiding any contact with other human individuals. Pessimists who cringe at the sign of a bit of emotions and sugar-sweet feelgood moods and hide like a slug that encounters a grain of salt on her path. The result is an allergic reaction of disgust and aversion, after which they begin to spit their guts and criticize the targeted object. Is "The Book of Henry" really overly-sentimental? Is it so sugary that your blood glucose levels suddenly go berserk? Is it so un-freakin-believable that a Jerry Springer show looks like a realistic show? And does the second part of the movie about revenging a child molester feel extremely exaggerated? Maybe yes. However, calling this film the biggest crap of the year, demonstrates shortsightedness and empathy similar to that of a mummified Egyptian pharaoh.
Whatever they claim, "The Book of Henry" is an amiable and entertaining evening filler. Something I'm yearning for after an endless series of nerve-racking or extremely serious movies where you need to stay focused, so you won't lose the thread after another plot-twist. I admit I watched the first chapter with more pleasure than the second chapter. Not because of the acting. But content-wise it was sometimes a bit too much and after a while it lost a bit of its credibility. For instance. I doubt you can buy a high-tech sniper rifle in the U.S. just by saying some obscure name and waving with a bundle of dollar bills. Let's skip the formalities! And someone calling the authorities after seeing an emotional performance of a ballet dancer, was quite bizarre. Especially when bruises and the timid behavior of the girl herself (plus Henry's testimonies) didn't ring any bells before.
You can say the film is kind of bizarre. Not only because of the family situation in which the Carpenter family finds itself. That's already extremely strange. Also the sudden twist in the middle of the story is bit of uncommon. Not often a main character leaves the story so early. Even though he isn't completely out of the picture. And that's why I'm talking about two chapters. The "pre" and "post" Henry period. Perhaps the mix of genres is a cause for criticism. At first, it looks like an innocent youth movie. Then it goes from a melodrama to a thriller with a revenge motive. Granted, that might be too much as well.
I enjoyed the acting the most. Jaeden Lieberher as bright Henry. A young boy looking at the world with very different eyes due to his unimaginable intelligence and at the same time he's still like an average, everyday boy. The way in which he confronts his classmates with the real facts is both sobering as extremely funny. Lieberher plays this with seemingly little effort. A brilliant mind but played in such a way that he remains human. Only I thought that his cartoonish machine he designed, using wires, hammers and wooden mechanisms, was quite contradictory to his high intellectual abilities. Naomi Watts (gorgeous role in "Demolition" by the way) is a known quantity, although she's acted of the screen a bit by her dominant son and all she seems to be doing is hitting the buttons on her PS4 controller. Even in the second chapter, Henry is holding her hand and is in charge of everything. But especially Jacob Tremblay, as the younger brother Peter, really surprised me. Not because of his impact on the story. But the professionalism he displays in shaping his personality. A likable and highly amusing character. Maddie Ziegler knew how to play the emotionally broken neighbor girl in a sublime way. A rendition in which the repressed emotions impressed more than Henry's occasional hyper-kinetic behavior.
Perhaps it's my age that makes me more melancholic and I'm touched much faster. However, I think most viewers approach this movie in a wrong way. I read somewhere that Henry's preconceived plan (which he has worked out in detail in his red booklet) is the opposite of his intellectual ability. A burst in his wisdom because it's revenge he's after. However, perhaps this was the only solution he could come up with after deductive and analytical reasoning. How does anyone react when witnessing that a criminal offense goes unpunished? And legal measures don't have the desired effect? Perhaps it takes more time for average intelligent people to come to the same conclusion.
I'm afraid I'm the only one with a positive opinion about this movie. Apparently, I like to root for the underdogs among movies. I'm sure that critics and opponents of "The book of Henry" will say that Trevorrow, after this cinematic adventure, delivered better work in the more realistic blockbuster "Episode IX". Even if he would add a scene with Chewbacca, Han Solo and Luke Skywalker dancing the can-can, these experts of stories on celluloid will probably approve it and claim that the man has added a willful interpretation to the Star Wars story. But he mustn't give in to willfulness when it comes to other movies (grinding teeth intonation). I am pleased that rebellious movies like "The Book of Henry" are made in Hollywood and not only the sometimes saltless crap that's being released. Because those are the movies where I say "Well, this was a great movie" when it's finished.
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