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Fay Grim

34 customer reviews

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Product Description

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

Special Features


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: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000NY0YKO
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #76,417 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Fay Grim" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

21 of 23 people found the following review helpful By B. Merritt VINE VOICE on June 9, 2007
Format: DVD
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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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Roland E. Zwick on July 17, 2007
Format: DVD

"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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16 of 20 people found the following review helpful By J. Kenney on May 23, 2007
Format: DVD
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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