Saturday, August 16, 2008

" Henry Poole Is Here"

Sorry no water stain. Couldn't find an uncopyrighted still shot. 
On a marque crammed with tired summer offerings of over-the-top comedies and action films, I spotted the sweet, small film, "Henry Poole is Here." Like a name sprawled under an aqueduct bridge, it was barely noticeable.

"Henry Poole is Here" is a quiet little film with a big premise. What do you do when you're an atheist and you learn you have six weeks to live? If you're Henry Poole, (Luke Wilson), you buy a house in a neighborhood where nobody knows you, numb yourself with booze, and wait around to die - alone. Henry's plan to fade away unnoticed is disrupted when his neighbor, Esperanza, (Adrianna Barrazza) starts worshiping a water-stained image of Christ she sees on his stucco wall.

To make matters worse, Esperanza is moved to share this miracle with her church and friends. A silent little girl tape records Henry's pleas to be left alone. But Henry never gets his wish. The little girl and her luminescent mother (Radha Mitchell) enter his life to show him that we are all here for a reason. In fact, the whole neighborhood is there for him - whether he likes it or not.

The director, Mark Pellington, leaves it for us to decide whether we believe it's a miracle or not. At first, we don't even get to see what Esperanza is looking at. Later, we see the stain, but the face is kind of illusive - sometimes it's there, sometimes it's not. The film doesn't tell you what to believe. But it shows the strength in believing and especially our belief in others.

Hopefully, this film doesn't fade away unnoticed amidst the jungle of summer releases. Hopefully, it finds a community that believes in it. This is a movie about hope, after all. I, for one, believe.

Movie blessings!
Jana Segal


Ruth said...

I saw this movie too and thought it was beautiful. I hope the word gets out about it.

Janet Grace Riehl said...

Thanks for the recommendation. I'll watch for it. "Esperanza" in Spanish means "hope," of course...and that's such an important keynote for today's world, no?

Janet Riehl

pupa81 said...

Thank you for your recent comment and in reference to "Henry Poole is Here" I haven't had a chance to review it yet. I did hear the soundtrack though; there are a few songs that I enjoyed listening to. It's hard to give a fair review without experiencing the music with the film but I will keep you posted.