The Book of Henry Is a Blatant Tearjerker Whose Elaborate Plot Serves a Useless Solution | Film Review | Indy Week
Pin It

The Book of Henry Is a Blatant Tearjerker Whose Elaborate Plot Serves a Useless Solution 

6.14_film_the_book_of_henry.jpg

The Book of Henry raises several questions. What's the kid from Room doing these days? What does Colin Trevorrow do between Jurassic Park sequels? Is this sort of work why Bobby Moynihan left Saturday Night Live? Did Gregg Hurwitz really write this?!

Henry (Jaeden Lieberher) is a precocious eleven-year-old who spends his days pining for the girl next door, Christina (Maddie Ziegler); protecting his little brother, Peter (Room's Jacob Tremblay), from bullies; and diversifying his family's financial portfolio while his single mom, Susan (Naomi Watts), plays video games with her boozy BFF (Sarah Silverman). Henry becomes convinced that Christina's stepfather (Breaking Bad's Dean Norris), the town's police commissioner, is abusing her. He plays Encyclopedia Brown, scribbling his findings in a red leather journal. After he's struck with terminal brain cancer, he bequeaths to Susan his notebook and cassettes, which contain his grim conclusion on how to save Christina.

This glorified TV thriller spends its latter half steeped in Henry's clairvoyant recordings, all in the service of an ultimately useless solution. Instead of a binder full of convoluted musings, he should have just told his mom to train her camera phone on the neighbor's upstairs window and press "send." Instead, crime novelist Hurwitz passes the time with a diversionary subplot before a denouement at a school talent show that could have occurred thirty minutes earlier. The Book of Henry is a blatant, bona fide tearjerker. Like the Rube Goldberg machines Henry constructs, his death supposedly sets into motion a chain of events that ends with better lives for his loved ones. But the only thing it triggers that couldn't have happened otherwise is Susan finding love with Henry's neurosurgeon (Lee Pace). Talk about bedside manner.

  • Director Colin Trevorrow and novelist Gregg Hurwitz's glorified TV thriller opens on Friday, June 16.

Comments

Showing 1-1 of 1

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-1 of 1

Add a comment

INDY Week publishes all kinds of comments, but we don't publish everything.

  • Comments that are not contributing to the conversation will be removed.
  • Comments that include ad hominem attacks will also be removed.
  • Please do not copy and paste the full text of a press release.

Permitted HTML:
  • To create paragraphs in your comment, type <p> at the start of a paragraph and </p> at the end of each paragraph.
  • To create bold text, type <b>bolded text</b> (please note the closing tag, </b>).
  • To create italicized text, type <i>italicized text</i> (please note the closing tag, </i>).
  • Proper web addresses will automatically become links.

Latest in Film Review



Twitter Activity

Comments

I was an undergrad at Duke when The Handmaid's Tale was filmed. I remained on campus during spring break and …

by PeterH on A Forgotten The Handmaid’s Tale Movie Filmed in Durham Is the Missing Link Between Classic Novel and Hulu Hit (Film Review)

I also loved this movie when it came out. Having just recently rewatched it, I'm surprised by how many details …

by Jase Wells on A Forgotten The Handmaid’s Tale Movie Filmed in Durham Is the Missing Link Between Classic Novel and Hulu Hit (Film Review)

Most Read

No recently-read stories.

Visit the archives…

Most Recent Comments

I was an undergrad at Duke when The Handmaid's Tale was filmed. I remained on campus during spring break and …

by PeterH on A Forgotten The Handmaid’s Tale Movie Filmed in Durham Is the Missing Link Between Classic Novel and Hulu Hit (Film Review)

I also loved this movie when it came out. Having just recently rewatched it, I'm surprised by how many details …

by Jase Wells on A Forgotten The Handmaid’s Tale Movie Filmed in Durham Is the Missing Link Between Classic Novel and Hulu Hit (Film Review)

What a great story, thanks Allison! I remember seeing this movie in high school and loving it. I never made …

by Glenn McDonald on A Forgotten The Handmaid’s Tale Movie Filmed in Durham Is the Missing Link Between Classic Novel and Hulu Hit (Film Review)

Just saw Pitch Perfect 3 trailer. Looks like its going to be another year of fun ride. Incredibly excited to …

by Andrew190 on Dueling college a cappella groups in Pitch Perfect (Film Review)

We'd be hard pressed to find a free local weekly with film reviews this poetic. Your writers translate complex ideas …

by Aims Arches on Isabelle Huppert Unforgettably Avenges Herself in Elle (Film Review)

© 2017 Indy Week • 320 E. Chapel Hill St., Suite 200, Durham, NC 27701 • phone 919-286-1972 • fax 919-286-4274
RSS Feeds | Powered by Foundation