Thursday, 30 September 2010

Henry Poole Is Here


Henry Poole Is Here; Drama/ Comedy, USA, 2008; D: Mark Pellington, S: Luke Wilson, Adriana Barraza, Radha Mitchell, Morgan Lily, George Lopez

A mysterious but sloppy stranger, Henry Poole, buys a house somewhere in California and just stays laxly there, not caring for anyone or anything. He drinks and remains secluded towards his neighbors. However, one day his Mexican neighbor Esperanza spots a water stain on his wall and perceives it as the face of Jesus Christ. Henry is annoyed by this, but two miracles happen when two people touch it: girl Patience, who doesn't need glasses anymore, and little girl Millie, who starts talking after a year of being mute, causing her single mother Dawn to start a relationship with Henry. He finally admits her that he was diagnosed with a terminal disease. When he destroys the wall, he lands in a hospital, but it turns out he is not sick anymore.

An unobtrusive little film, "Henry Poole is Here" works both as a light spiritual film about some mysterious in life as well as a gentle satire on religious people who see divine apparitions in unusual places, in this case, the face of Jesus Christ in a water stain on the wall. The film is the best in the first half, when it takes on a humorous approach towards the matter, while Luke Wilson is very good as the sceptical, slightly sloppy title hero who just sees it as a normal water stain on the wall. It turns heavily sentimental and pretentious towards the end, which is unsuitable for such a simple, one-note concept, yet all in all it is a pleasant, mostly harmless fun that juggles somewhere between drama and comedy. However, it has two great quotes. In the first, Esperanza tells how she expected she was never going to get married, until she met her husband and spent so much happy time with him that she "didn't even remember how it is to be sad anymore". In the second, Henry confronts her about the "miraculous" water stain: "You just want me to believe because that way your own beliefs seem more real".

Grade:++

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