Tuesday, 17 February 2009

Henry Poole is Here


This is a movie that I saw too late to add to my top ten list. It definitely would have been on it. It's the style of quirky comedy drama that I'm always on the lookout for, and in this case I think it's an effective parable on the risks of faith and hope.

Some, no doubt, will not like the positivity of the movie (but they are probably taking it overly literally), while others might find the consistent undertone of sadness and isolation difficult. The fact that both of these are possible is part of why I love it. They make a brilliant decision of not providing much information at all on the characters (an odd reference on imdb to a backstory that is not at all referred to in the movie makes one wonder if there were some late deleted scenes, but they are not included on the dvd). This minimalist style enhances its parabolic feel. You could almost imagine a Jesus-like teacher telling the story..."There was a man lost in hopeless sadness...." We don't need to know all the reasons for his sadness - we all know plenty enough to know it happens to people.

The acting, the tone, the composition, the pacing - these all work very well for me. Somehow I didn't find the comic moments and the depth of sadness were at all at odds with each other. The only place I felt needed tweaking were the last five minutes. It felt like some of the skillful nuancing was lost. But a wonderful movie - **** and a full mug up from me.