Movie Review for Henry Poole is Here (2008)

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Review #672 of 365
Movie Review of Henry Poole is Here (2008) [PG] 100 minutes
WIP™ Scale: $13.75
Where Viewed: Landmark Mayan, Denver, CO
When Seen: 13 August 2008 @ 7:30 pm
DVD Release Date: Unscheduled (please check back)
After the Credits: nothing

Soundtrack: Download now from Ron Irizarry - Henry Poole Is Here (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) - or - order the CD below

Directed by: Mark Pellington (U2 3D)
Written by: Albert Torres (debut)

Featured Cast (Where You Might Remember Him/Her From):
Luke Wilson (3:10 to Yuma) • Radha Mitchell (Feast of Love) • Adriana Barraza (Babel) • George Lopez (Swing Vote) • Cheryl Hines (Space Chimps) • Richard Benjamin (Keeping up with the Steins) • Morgan Lily ("CSI: Crime Scene Investigation" ) • Rachel Seiferth (Anna Nicole ) • Beth Grant (No Country for Old Men)

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Have you lost all faith in movies? Well, once again, here's a call to you to take a step out of your multiplex and seek out the independent theatres in your area showing independent films. They used to be called art house theatres, but that name was kind of misleading. It's not so much that megabucks studio productions cannot have their artistic moments, it's more that those films shown in the so-called art houses were to be more about the artistry than the profit. Certainly, art house films needed to make some money for the people who made them, but money was not the means to justify the ends and vice versa. Well, another case in point comes from a bittersweet little film called Henry Poole Is Here. The title, cryptic as it rolls off the tongue, reveals the main character and suggests something about the tenor of the film. Let it, for you want to approach this film somewhat guardedly. That seems to be what everyone wants including the writer (Albert Torres), the director (Mark Pellington), and the main character, Henry Poole (Luke Wilson).

Let this wonderful little film with exceptionally well-written characters and performances reawaken your faith in films.
But, the opening question serves a dual meaning, have you lost all faith in movies? Have you seen a movie recently that really woke you up? And not like a Coca-Cola® Rockstar energy drink, but to the realities of the human condition? And have you lost any confidence that movies today might deal with something other than the violence and atrocious sides of human beings rather than exploring our faith or lack thereof in not just any good forces that might happen to inhabit the universe but in each other and ourselves? Well, if yes to either was your answer, then Henry Poole Is Here will rekindle your faith in both senses when it comes to the movies.

Albert Torres paints the story of a profoundly sad, middle-aged man who buys a bungalow somewhere in sunny southern California for the asking price, moves in with a scarcity of furniture, and promptly begins to subsist on a diet of donuts and cheap wine. Even the grocery store checker, Patience (Rachel Seiferth) notices his mysterious misery. His busy-body realtor convinces the sellers to fix up aspects of the home despite Henry's protestations to the contrary, and it is this fix-up job that will change Henry's life in the near future if not forever. His nosey neighbor, Esperanza (Adriana Barraza) drops by to visit unannounced at the most inopportune moments happens upon a water stain on the side of his house appearing in the new stucco.

Luke Wilson gives one of his best and most sensitive portrayals of the eponymous character.
What she sees and what Henry sees, however are two utterly different things. Without giving up too much more (if you want more spoilers see the spoiler), suffice it say that to one it's a miracle and the other it's just plain rust. The rest of the film takes you on an unexpected journey into the far-reaching corners of your soul. Luke Wilson gives one of his best and most sensitive portrayals of the eponymous character. Meanwhile, Ariana Barrazza and Radha Mitchell play the marvelous women in his life. Conventional wisdom suggests it takes much joy to dull one's sadness, the opposite may be just as true.

Faith is the central theme, but faith in what is a different matter. Let this wonderful little film with exceptionally well-written characters and performances reawaken your faith in films.

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Other Projects Featuring Henry Poole is Here (2008)
Cast Members
Luke WilsonRadha MitchellAdriana Barraza
George LopezCheryl HinesRichard Benjamin
Morgan LilyRachel SeiferthBeth Grant
Mark Pellington
Albert Torres

Review-lite Henry Poole is Here (2008) [max of 150 words]
Simply unforgettable, let Henry Poole is Here, directed by Mark Pellington, and starring Luke Wilson in the eponymous character rekindle your faith in movies.

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