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Fay Grim (2007)

Parker Posey , Jeff Goldblum , Hal Hartley  |  Unrated |  DVD
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Parker Posey, Jeff Goldblum, Liam Aiken, D.J. Mendel, Megan Gay
  • Directors: Hal Hartley
  • Writers: Hal Hartley
  • Producers: Hal Hartley, Jason Kliot, Joana Vicente, Julien Berlan, Maren Wölk
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: Magnolia
  • DVD Release Date: May 22, 2007
  • Run Time: 118 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000NY0YKO
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #117,486 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Fay Grim" on IMDb

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Editorial Reviews

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Jeff Goldblum, Parker Posey. Fay fears her son Ned will end up like his ne'er-do-well father Henry, for years a hunted fugitive. Her brother Simon is also serving time for trying to help Henry flee the country. When a CIA agent tries to enlist Fay's aid in finding Henry's missing notes, things spiral out of control into a deadly game of international espionage. 2006/color/118 min/R.

Fay Grim is Hal Hartley's version of the espionage thriller. Consequently, it's more peculiar than pulse-pounding, but that's what makes his films appealing--to those who appreciate their off-kilter rhythms, that is. In Hartley's world, dialogue is often delivered with a straight face, no matter how funny the line or farcical the situation. In Fay Grim, he picks up seven years after Henry Fool left off, but this time the writer/director shifts focus from novelist Henry (Thomas Jay Ryan) to his seemingly scattered wife, Fay (Parker Posey). Their son, Ned (Liam Aiken), is now in his teens, but Henry remains at large, and Fay's "garbage man poet" brother, Simon (James Urbaniak), remains in prison for aiding in his escape. Then two CIA operatives, Fulbright (Jeff Goldblum) and Fogg (Leo Fitzpatrick), inform her that Henry is dead, so Fay agrees to track down his complete set of diaries in exchange for Simon's freedom. Apparently, Henry's incoherent ramblings contain state secrets. Joining forces with stewardess Bebe (Elina Löwensohn), Fay travels from Queens to Paris to Istanbul to fulfill her mission. In the end, Fay Grim resembles Hartley's noir parody Amateur, which featured Löwensohn, more than Henry Fool. It has less to say about talent and celebrity and more about mystery and intrigue. For the filmmaker, it also represents an opportunity to reunite a strong ensemble and to recover, at least for the time being, from a string of disappointments, like No Such Thing and The Girl From Monday. --Kathleen C. Fennessy

Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Mainly For Hartley Fans June 9, 2007
I'm one of those people who'd crawl a mile through broken glass to see a Hal Hartley film. From TRUST and IRIS to Henry Fool and (my Hartley favorite) No Such Thing, Hal's unique brand of movies are an acquired taste. Infusing equal parts mystery/espionage with wispy comedy seems to be his forte. The comedy isn't in your face necessarily, and often runs throughout an entire scene before coming to fruition. And that's the case with FAY GRIM, the sequel to Henry Fool.

Parker Posey stars as Fay Grim, abandoned wife of Henry Fool and mother to Henry's only son Ned. Fay lives a quiet life until she comes home one day to find a CIA agent in her kitchen. His name is Fulbright (Jeff Goldblum, Man of the Year) and he wants Henry's notebooks. There are many Henry Fool notebooks and they were all previously believed to contain nothing but mad wanderings. Apparently there's much more to them. Secrets weapons research or paths to terrorists? Who knows but Henry. Agent Fulbright tells Fay that her husband is dead but this is quickly surmised as a ruse to get Fay out of her home and searching for Henry (and it works ...but not the way they think).

Fay battles multiple spy rings to gather Henry's notebooks and to seek him out. She also makes a deal with the CIA to get her brother Simon (James Urbaniak) out of prison (he'd helped Henry escape the country in the original Henry Fool film.
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16 of 20 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Nice rebound from Hartley May 23, 2007
Hal Hartley has in my opinion made several great films: AMATEUR, BOOK OF LIFE, SURVIVING DESIRE and HENRY FOOL are the best, unique deadpan comedies and dramas in love with language and human weakness, with moments of inspired poetry, verbal and visual. He is also an "art" filmmaker, making films that have never crossed over to a larger audience; his one "big budgeted" film, NO SUCH THING, is easily his worst, and in fact, since BOOK OF LIFE in 98, his work has been largely interesting without being wholly successful, as he has become more concerned with political and social issues than interpersonal ones; he has a tendency to be a little too on-the-nose on these topics, with both THING and GIRL FROM MONDAY tending towards self-righteous polemics that rail against too-obvious topics without much effect. MONDAY is much better than THING, but neither work as well as any of his earlier work.

FAY GRIM, a sequel to HENRY FOOL, is a large step back in the right direction; while more political than ever, he integrates it into his unique deadpan storytelling style much better than he has previously this decade, and offers moments of inspired lunacy and heart that haven't been seen since BOOK OF LIFE. GRIM is a bit overstuffed, and likely won't win many converts, but fans of Hartley's work in the 90s who have not forgotten his inimitable style and point of view will welcome this film, warts and all, which plays like a kind of very dry international thriller (don't go looking for any action scenes, as much of the violence that does occur plays out in freeze-frame sequences) mixed with the family/love story comedy found in FOOL.

It's nice to see Jeff Goldblum and Saffron Burrows smoothly join the mix of usual Hartley regulars, though it'd be nice if Hartley and Martin Donovan could team up again. The DVD is widescreen anamorphic (shot on high definition video), with some reasonable extras.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars stylish film but with diminishing returns July 17, 2007

"Fay Grim" is Hal Hartley's strange, fitfully amusing but ultimately unsuccessful follow-up to his "Henry Fool," an independent feature from 1997 that achieved a certain degree of critical acclaim and financial success upon its release in 1998.

Parker Posey returns as Fay Grim, the wife of the aforementioned Mr. Fool, the literary poseur who disappeared mysteriously at the end of the previous picture taking the multi-volume "confessions" he had written right along with him. Fay is barely keeping the frayed strands of her life together when a couple of CIA agents (the main one played by Jeff Goldblum) arrive on the scene to inform her that not only is her missing husband believed to be dead but that the French government would like nothing better than to get its hands on Fool's inscrutable manuscripts, which, apparently, contain coded information of great value to many of the world`s premier powerbrokers. The agents convince Fay to fly to Paris to engage in some serious cloak-and-dagger espionage for the American government. While there, she finds herself quickly embroiled in a complex web of secrecy, lies and international intrigue centered around the man she married but now realizes she never really knew much about.

With its tongue-in-cheek style and preposterously over-complicated storyline, "Fay Grim" is admittedly something of an acquired taste. Some viewers may be intrigued by the hip, postmodernist tone and approach the movie adopts towards its subject matter, while others may find the whole thing insufferably pretentious and annoying.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars you don,t say
this is another that i had seen had to own it so i could study facts figures that only close perusal can accomplish to me it is a sleeper of a movie one that doesn,t give up its... Read more
Published 5 months ago by tim huxoll
3.0 out of 5 stars Good sequel, but unresolved
You must see Henry Fool to understand; it follows the style and so, it's fun in the same strange way. Goldblum's quircky character fit's perfectly in this world. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Julio Bro!
4.0 out of 5 stars Surprisingly Offbeat
This movie is under rated, I say that both for the few dollar cost, and the original review when first released. Read more
Published 8 months ago by TRBear
5.0 out of 5 stars Good
It's a good movie, before the actress get so popular on the series and showing on the movies. Love it.
Published 9 months ago by Samuel A. Vindiola Robles
5.0 out of 5 stars Start with HENRY FOOL, continue agog at FAY GRIM
Don't make my (almost) mistake, start with Henry Fool. I don't wish to discuss one without the other because of reasons made clear below. Read more
Published 16 months ago by Dillon Lee
4.0 out of 5 stars Different, but good.
Wasn't sure what I was expecting, but it turned out to be a very good film. I liked that she went from feeling like a victim of circumstance to being the woman in charge, and... Read more
Published 18 months ago by annette85
5.0 out of 5 stars My most favorite film!
A wonderful satire on international espionage, terrorism, and the CIA. Parker Posey is extremely attractive, and the other actors are all excellent.
Published 20 months ago by john messina
5.0 out of 5 stars Where was I when this movie was in A release
I am not sure why this movie is so much fun and it really is. The premise is curious and the sincerity that the actors bring to such broad characterizations almost makes the movie... Read more
Published 21 months ago by RayBlahBlah
1.0 out of 5 stars Substandard audio makes unknown quantity a worthless streaming...
The audio is too low on the stream to hear the film. Amazon Prime reinforces what Netflix has proven thus far; that subscription-based streaming at this point in time simply isn't... Read more
Published 21 months ago by DP
2.0 out of 5 stars An Examination Of Masochistic Endurance
Stunted dialogue, unforgivable clunker of a screenplay, and an annoying propensity to shoot virtually every scene from a fishing crab boat's perspective. Read more
Published on May 24, 2012 by MadMacs
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