Henry Fool

Reviewed By Chris Parry
Posted 11/25/98 02:51:13

"If you like 'thing go boom', move along. This is called 'writing'"
5 stars (Awesome)

The fact that Hal Hartley has to struggle for funds to shoot his films is something that Hollywood should be spanked over, repeatedly. The man is genius and Henry Fool, while not his best work, still beats the pants off 99% of what goes out there into consumer-land.

James Urbaniak is Simon Grim, garbageman, a tortured soul who everyone assumes is retarded. When gruff, drunken wanna-be poet Henry Fool (Thomas Jay Ryan) stumbles into his life and hands over a pencil and noteboook, Simon discovers he can write.

But Simon doesn't just write. He writes from the soul. His poetry causes some people to react violently and some to react spiritually. He hits a chord with enough folks to have the world beating on his door, but can sociopath Henry do the same?

Aside from the poetry, Simon's family is a mess. His sister, Faye (Parker Posey going for drudgery over glamor for a change) is the town trampoline, his mother (Maria Porter) is house-bound and useless.

His neigbors aren't much better. Warren (Kevin Corrigan, once again proving he is a fine character actor) goes from beating Simon up daily to becoming a young republican and child molester. The local Priest (Nicholas Hope of Bad Boy Bubby fame) is disillusioned with the church and ina constant staet of depression.

Why is everyone so screwed up? Well, have you taken a look around outside lately?

But I digress. This story focusses on the manic nature of Henry Fool and is played wonderfully well by all in the cast. The script is typical Hartley and runs just the other side of well-paced, the scenery is grim, the cast underplayed and non-hammy.

If you missed this two and a half hour feast on the big screen, it might be tough to sit through on video. If you can still get it on the screen, go see it. Great movie.

Note to studio. If Hal Hartley comes knocking at your door with his hand out, slap a phat cheque in it and close the door quietly. There's a good lackey.

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