Saturday, August 16, 2008

Henry Poole Is Here


Henry Poole Is Here shows director Mark Pellington in navel gazing mode. Pellington has done a variety of films including Going All the Way, Arlington Road (shot in Houston), and the recent IMAX docu U2 3D. Henry Poole is being marketed as a miracle movie, although seeing it before I saw its trailer I found it to be more of a low key romantic comedy.
Luke Wilson plays Henry Poole with the weight of the world on his shoulders. He thinks he has mere months to live, the result of a rare disease. Using his savings to buy a house in the neighborhood of his youth Poole proceeds to drink himself into oblivion.
A next door neighbor claims that a stain on Poole stucco finish resembles the face of Christ. Meanwhile the neighbor on the other side, Radha Mitchell looking quite lovely in a suburban kind of way, has a daughter who stopped speaking the year before. It's easy to see where the film will end up, filmmakers have a habit of painting themselves into a corner and Henry Poole is no exception.
There's a light, almost fluffy ambience to the comedy, and Wilson does manage to channel feelings of grief so common to the human condition. Yes, there are a couple of miracles, but perhaps coincidence also plays a powerful hand in the plot. The real miracle would be if this sweet film got some of the love it deserves.

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