Henry Poole is Here tells the funny, poignant and uplifting story of a disillusioned man who attempts to hide from life in a rundown suburban tract home only to discover he cannot escape the forces of hope.
Henry Poole Is Here
is an odd if enjoyable dramedy about everyone's need for a miracle now and then--though one person's miracle can easily be another's nightmare. Henry Poole (Luke Wilson) is a misanthropic loner who attempts to buy a specific house at any price and is rebuffed. Instead, he buys another house in some need of repair but brushes off any discussion of improvement, mysteriously claiming he's not going to be living in it very long. Uncertain what that means, Henry's neighbors learn to give him some distance, until Esperanza (Adriana Barraza) decides she can see the face of Jesus Christ in a water stain on Henry's house. In short order, Esperanza has alerted her church and friends, and a disgruntled Henry's backyard is full of true believers. Directed by Mark Pellington (Arlington Road
), Henry Poole Is Here
occasionally finds itself awash in treacle and sincerity, especially where Henry's developing relationship with a single mom (Radha Mitchell) and her near-mute child are concerned. But the film never alienates viewers disinclined to believe in iconic apparitions, adding a neat twist toward the end that makes Henry's rage against Esperanza's faith work for and not against him. Making the whole enterprise worthwhile is Wilson's fine performance as a man who has given up on everything (for reasons that eventually become clear in the story) but, in fact, wants nothing more than to embrace life. --Tom Keogh
Stills from Henry Poole is Here (click for larger image)
Beyond Henry Poole Is Here