Thursday, August 21, 2008

Henry Poole is Here

Three parents and nine teens from our Catholic homeschool group went to see "Henry Poole is Here." All of us really, really liked this movie. It is definitely hard to write about it without giving away the whole plot. It's also hard to find the right adjectives to describe it. Henry Poole knows he is going to die soon, and takes a sad/angry/depressed approach to meeting his death. He uses the Lord's name in vain twice, but he says it in the context of moaning in exasperation (and for deliverance). It was very appropriate to the script, no matter how offensive to my 40-something ears.

Henry's conscience is being pricked by the "religious" neighbors. Esperanza is a beautiful Catholic woman, who cares for his feelings and his eternal soul. She brings her priest over (George Lopez?!) and he says all the right things about the apparition on Henry's house. It is not an anti-Catholic movie at all! That's all the spoilers I will give away.

Prepare yourself for a slow-moving plot. Stretches of silence give you the depths of Henry's despair and his solitude actually brings him to reflect on his childhood and make sense of his life. The background music is very "techno" (Bob Dylan, Ben Harper, U2) - I don't know how to describe it. The music and the main character are very odd! I probably would not take my 10-year-olds because they might think it moves too slow. However, there is nothing to prevent that age group from going! I can heartily endorse this movie for showing the honest struggle of man's deepest questions about life and death. It is both funny (we laughed out loud) and sorrowful (we passed out tissues). Enjoy!

4 comments:

Esther said...

Mahalo for the review! I've been hearing good things about the movie. However, I had no idea what it was about.

Candise and Crew said...

My friend who is a priest just wrote me saying: "This was a truly beautiful film (by every standard) and replete with Catholic themes - even the names of the characters like Esperanza = Hope, Patience, Dawn!

Candise and Crew said...

The National Catholic Register gave it a mediocre review, but I wrote back saying:
Dear Editor,
I read the “shallow” review of the Henry Poole movie and was disappointed in Steven Greydanus’ assessment. He wanted the move to be more philosophical?! More satisfyingly engaging of the vagaries of life?! Unlike modern Hollywood productions which curse loudly and aren’t ashamed to tell all, this movie requires you to think for yourself. The beauty of this movie is its truly catholic treatment of Henry’s life in Anytown. Henry has been notified of a terminal illness and wants to wallow in depression and self-pity, but his conscience is being pricked by his religious neighbors. It is both laughable and sorrowful to watch him wrestle with his emotions and the workings of Providence in his life. The main characters even have names like Esperanza (which means “hope” in Spanish), Dawn, and Patience. Esperanza is a beautiful Catholic woman who cares about Henry’s humanity and, more importantly, cares for his eternal soul. Her parish priest even manages to say all the right things about the apparition on Henry’s house. I was eager to recommend this movie to my friends because there was no priest-bashing or anti-Catholic rhetoric, and I will continue to do so.

Candise and Crew said...

Faith & Family Live said: The message of Mark Pellington’s film affirms the teaching of Pope Benedict XVI’s second encyclical letter which was entitled “Saved in Hope”. Henry Poole finds out that in the midst of the stuff of daily life, with all of its pain and struggle,hope really can save you