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Henry Poole moves in to a house in his old neighborhood, to spend what he believes are his remaining days alone. The discovery of a miracle by a nosy neighbor ruptures his solitude and restores his faith in life.
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 (
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.
Stills from Henry Poole is Here (click for larger image)
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