FAY GRIM, a comedy thriller sequel to Hal Hartley’s 1998 HENRY FOOL, tells how Henry Fool and his wife or lover, Fay, become pawns in a complex espionage game among Western nations, the evil United States government, Israel, and Muslim terrorists. After some entertaining, mysterious intrigue, the movie degenerates into an anti-American conspiracy movie where Muslim terrorists are more sympathetic than the U.S. and Israel.
The liberal left today often protests that its opposition to the Bush administration’s policies on Islamic terrorism are not anti-patriotic or pro-terrorist, but in practically every movie they make about the subject since 9/11 (including the acclaimed MUNICH), the Muslim terrorists seem to be portrayed as more sympathetic than those fighting them. Such is the case with FAY GRIM, independent filmmaker Hal Hartley’s comedy thriller sequel to his 1998 movie HENRY FOOL.
The sequel focuses on Fay Grim, a single mother in Queens who doesn’t want her teenage son to grow up like his father, the notorious Henry Fool. As chronicled in the first movie, Fay’s brother Simon is a controversial poet who became famous due to Henry and Fay. Simon helped his mentor Henry, a fugitive accused of pedophilia, to escape overseas. Consequently, Simon himself has been imprisoned.
Inexplicably, an earnest CIA agent named Fulbright shows up on Fay’s doorstep and draws her into a game of international espionage to recover Henry’s life writings, a series of journals known as his “Confessions.” The writings supposedly contain coded, classified information that several other countries want, including Israel. Fay agrees to help Fulbright if Fulbright will help get Simon out of jail.
After some entertaining, mysterious intrigue in Paris, viewers learn that a Muslim terrorist leader named Khan is hiding Henry in Turkey. Both Henry and Fulbright worked with Khan in Afghanistan when the United States tried to free that country from Russian Communist domination by working with Muslims.
This is where the movie turns into an anti-American, left-wing conspiracy movie. In fact, the Muslim terrorist and one of his thugs come across as more sympathetic than the devious CIA agent, the U.S. government, and Israel and its spy on the scene. In other words, the violent, insane ramblings of Mohammed and his followers are not the big threat, America and Israel are. What of Henry Fool, the accused pedophile? Why, he is just some kind of left-wing patriot trying to expose the secrets and dirty dealings of America and the West in his writings. Of course, the sequel never mentions that, in the first movie, Henry was accused of pedophilia or that he fornicated with both Fay and her mother. Apparently, Hartley wants to hide these awful sub-plots under the rug for some reason. How convenient.
FAY GRIM would have been much more entertaining without Hartley’s cliché left-wing propaganda, which never makes much sense in the movie, but once again exposes the radical mindset that Hartley obliquely revealed in the first movie, HENRY FOOL. Apparently, one of the characters in the first movie is a right-wing activist who beats his wife and child. After FAY GRIM, Hartley’s radical left-wing agenda couldn’t be more clear. The grace of God through Jesus Christ, however, has been known to turn around many an anti-Christian bigot and many a socialist radical. Pray that it be so in Mr. Hartley’s case.
(RoRoRo, APAPAP, AbAbAb, FRFRFR, C, LL, V, S, N, A, D, M) Very strong Romantic, liberal, anti-American, ultimately anti-Semitic worldview where the American government, a CIA agent and Israel turn out to be the main bad guys and an Arab terrorist and one of his young thugs are seen as sympathetic characters who are just trying to oppose the devious policies of the U.S. and Israel, plus woman consults with priest and priest, rabbi and imam are consulted to decipher foreign word; 23 obscenities (including some “f” words) and one light profanity; light action violence includes man shot off screen, woman tries to hold boy hostage, man hit by car, two people shot; no sex scenes but brief sexual talk; upper male nudity; alcohol use, smoking; and, lying.
FAY GRIM, a comedy thriller sequel to Hal Hartley’s 1998 HENRY FOOL, focuses on Fay Grim. A single mother in Queens, Fay doesn’t want her teenage son to grow up like his father, the notorious Henry Fool. Fay’s brother Simon, a controversial poet who became famous, helped his mentor Henry escape overseas, a fugitive from a pedophile charge. Consequently, Simon himself has been imprisoned. Inexplicably, an earnest CIA agent named Fulbright shows up on Fay’s doorstep and draws her into a game of international espionage to recover Henry’s life writings, a series of journals known as his “Confessions.” The writings supposedly contain coded, classified information that several other countries want, including Israel. After some entertaining intrigue, viewers learn that a friendly Muslim terrorist is hiding Henry.
Eventually, FAY GRIM turns into an anti-American, left-wing conspiracy movie. The Muslim terrorists are portrayed more sympathetically than the devious CIA agent, the U.S. government, and Israel and its spy. In other words, the violent, insane ramblings of Mohammed and his followers are not the big threat, America and Israel are. FAY GRIM would have been more entertaining without Hartley’s cliché, confused left-wing propaganda.