Friday, April 8, 2011

Hal Hartley - Henry Fool (1997)

One of the most wickedly and subtly brilliant movies I’ve seen in a good minute. It’s also funny at times in a very anhydrous fashion. The film is centered around a strange friendship between the Byronic hero (writer and frondeur Henry) and the gauche unlikely hero (garbage man Simon). It’s also a family drama and a meditation about the inherent and immutable property of genius in the artist (in this case the poet). Henry is a profound and witty rogue who is working on his “magnum opus”, and is constantly giving Simon advice on writing and life lessons. Simon is awkward and reserved but slowly but surely gains his voice as the film progresses and becomes more confident in his work. The two main characters eventually kind of switch roles as Simon writes the “great American poem” and Henry’s collection of writings gets shut down by the publisher, causing him much distress and self-evaluation. They have sort of a falling out until Henry needs help leaving the country to escape the law. The screenplay is phenomenal, filled with magnetic dialogue and an off beat plot. But it’s the characters and the acting that really drive this film into masterpiece-tier territory. The final scene is powerful and riveting and makes Henry’s character all the more dynamic. Highly recommended.


  1. This one blew me away completely. Have you seen Trust?

  2. I just watched Trust the other night (coming down of tar no less). Also a masterpiece, but I'll be darned if it didn't put me in a real rotten mood until the end, which was kind of ambiguous and somewhat hopeful as opposed to the rest of the film which was just depressing. My friend and new guest poster is going to do a write up on it next week. I'll be sure to add my comments.

  3. btw, I found out about both those movies through your profile, so I guess I owe you a thanks :)