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The Book of Henry – Film Review

The Book of Henry – Film Review by Frank L.
Director: Colin Trevorrow
Writer: Gregg Hurwitz
Stars: Naomi Watts, Jaeden Lieberher, Jacob Tremblay
The Henry of the title is one Henry Carpenter (Jaeden Lieberher), an eleven year old child of extraordinary genius. He is an intellectual giant at school, far brighter than any kid of his age. He is the adorable elder son of a single mother Helen Carpenter (Naomi Watts). He looks after her finances and even makes investments for her, all of which he does with superb skill as they supplement her earnings as a waitress. Indeed their life style seems, in the world of a single mother, to be reasonably affluent. She, needless to say, is utterly dependent on him and adores him.

There is a younger brother Peter (Jacob Tremblay) who is lovable also even if not so gifted as Henry. The brothers share a bedroom the décor of which is cute. The sugar content of the proceedings is kept high by director Trevorrow. When Helen is putting the two of them to bed, she asks them whether a night light should be on or off and then whether the door should by open or closed. Charmingly they give different answers. Trevorrow is so pleased with this sequence that he repeats it.

The saccharine sweet atmosphere is disturbed from an early stage by a worrying shadow in the form of the truculent and sinister male, fifty-something- year old, next-door neighbour. The atmosphere morphs abruptly to darkness when Henry out of the blue falls ill.  A complete change of pace overwhelms Helen’s world and high action hospital scenes follow with Helen suitably distraught at the hospital bed.  The story then takes off into a plot of unadulterated nonsense which is all orchestrated from a red book written by the prodigy Henry.  This is the book which gives the film its pretentious title.

Trevorrow was the director of “Safety Guaranteed” which led to him directing “Jurassic World” 2015 and he has been chosen to direct “Stars Wars IX” which is due for release next year. So he is a man who is well regarded in the film industry.  In this offering his talents are not to be observed. Naomi Watts has some cringe making lines to speak and in a tuneless voice to a stringed instrument, she sings a song. It is not that long but it does seems to last an eternity. The same comment also applies to the film.

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Categories: Header, Movie Review, Movies

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