HENRY POOLE IS HERE
Miraculous Deliverance from Despair
Release Date: August 15, 2008
Audience: Teenagers to adults
Runtime: 104 minutes
Distributor: Overture Films/Starz LLC
Director: Mark Pellington
Executive Producer: Mark Pellington
Writer: Albert Torres
Address Comments To:Robert Clasen, Chairman/CEO
Starz LLC (Starz Entertainment, Overture Films, Anchor Bay Entertainment)
8900 Liberty Circle
Englewood, CO 80112
Phone: (720) 852-7700; Fax: (720) 852-8555
Luke Wilson plays the title role, a young man whose doctor tells him he’s only got about three months to live. To spend his last days, Henry tries to buy the ranch house where his family used to live. He’ll pay whatever the owners want, but they refuse, so he buys a house nearby. He tells the realtor not to bother doing any repairs on the house (he’s not going to be staying long), but she does it anyway, even to the point of re-painting the stucco.
Henry’s world is turned upside down when his Catholic Hispanic neighbor, Esperanza, notices a water stain on the wall of Henry’s new house. The stain has developed a faint vision of Jesus Christ. Henry angrily rejects Esperanza’s Christian explanations of this alleged miracle, but then a small red stain appears on top of the image. The small red blob refuses to completely disappear. Even if someone wipes it off, it reappears. Reluctantly, Henry agrees to let Esperanza’s priest and church test the red liquid on the image, to see if it really is a drop of blood.
Henry’s lack of faith is further challenged when two people experience miraculous psychological and physical healing after touching the Jesus image with the red stain. Henry keeps fighting the religious implications of these miracles, but his budding relationship with a pretty abandoned woman, Dawn, and her young daughter, Millie, next door begins to open his heart. Yet, Henry is still very reluctant to see if, by touching the stain himself, he can be healed of his own affliction and saved from impending death.
Though not overtly evangelistic, HENRY POOLE IS HERE is a poignant tale of a despondent, hopeless man being transformed by both the miraculous and by new relationships with caring people. The title character is also touched by the quirky behavior of Dawn’s cute daughter, Millie, who has been traumatized psychologically by her father’s sudden abandonment of the family.
Writer Albert Torres and director Mark Pellington deftly weave these motifs together, despite the movie’s low budget. The cast also does a great job of telling this story.
Ultimately, HENRY POOLE IS HERE is an uplifting story of faith, hope, caring, and miracles. The movie shies away from making strong, overt evangelistic points with Christian theology, but it treats Christian faith in miracles respectfully. Esperanza is sometimes a little bit pushy, which results in some humor at her expense, but her character is mostly positive. The movie shows her Christian faith to be strong, insistent and caring, in spite of Henry’s negative attitude. In fact, she is always extremely patient with Henry, even when his lack of faith becomes angry and destructive. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is not fully presented, but the movie contains positive nods to God, faith and real miracles.
Despite his anger, his overt skepticism and his despondency, viewers can relate to Henry through his obvious pain and his displays of tenderness toward Dawn’s daughter. Eventually, his budding, heartwarming relationship with her and Dawn provides another positive anchor to the story.
Thus, although the ending falls a little short, HENRY POOLE IS HERE is an absorbing, inspiring piece of entertainment. In fact, it could be one of the best movies of the year. Some foul language, however, especially a few strong profanities from the troubled protagonist, require caution for children, or pre-teenagers.
Though not overtly evangelistic, HENRY POOLE IS HERE is a poignant, absorbing tale of a despondent, hopeless man without faith being transformed by both the miraculous and by new relationships with caring people. Though the ending falls a little short, the movie is inspiring, well written and deftly directed, with a positive nod to God, faith and miracles. There is some strong foul language, however, that demands caution for children, or pre-teenagers.