4.7

Henry Poole Is Here

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Henry Poole Is Here

Release Date: Aug. 15 (limited)
Director: Mark Pellington
Writer: Albert Torres
Cinematographer: Eric Schmidt
Starring: Luke Wilson, Radha Mitchell, Adriana Barraza, Rachel Seiferth
Studio/Run Time: Overture Films, 100 mins.

Luke Wilson tempers sweet Frank Capra-channeling film

Luke Wilson plays a scowling loner who buys a house in an old suburban neighborhood but doesn’t expect to be there long. Why, he doesn’t say. He avoids his chatty neighbors and blocks out the Southern California sun with blankets. When the water stain in his stucco begins to resemble the face of Christ, and when his neighbors—and the film—take the appearance seriously, the movie shifts from a potential romantic comedy into the mystical world of Frank Capra, like a warmer version of It’s a Wonderful Life. Warmer—and stranger. Pop songs hold the skinny plot together, and each of its embedded music videos delivers the undeniable punch of a power ballad. They’re mopey and obvious, but sweet as can be, and the film’s redeeming facet is the depth of Henry’s cynicism. The heated exchanges he has with his faith-filled neighbors affirm that he’s no flower, and this surprisingly caustic side of Luke Wilson is the medicine that helps the sugar go down.

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