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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
A man who is clearly an alcoholic seems hell-bent on performing a slow suicide by indulging in destructive behavior. He's also anti-social. But he goes through a change, fueled in part by his kindly new neighbors, and he opens his heart in the end.
Violence & Scariness
Hints of a child's troubled childhood; a man on the edge knocks down an entire house by hacking at it with an axe; discussions about a child witnessing horrible fights between her now-divorced parents.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
A kiss between two adults who are falling in love.
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"Jerk" and "damn," and one use of "holy s--t."
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Products & Purchases
Labels and signage for Krispy Kreme doughnuts, Super Bueno Market, liquor, etc.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Lots of drinking -- the main character, who is terminally ill and careless about life, drinks vodka and other liquor throughout the day as if it's water.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this flawed-but-interesting dramedy takes on a potentially overwhelming topic -- faith -- and manages to make it approachable. It even stirs a bit of hope. That said, it's so geared up for a fight that it misses its chance to be a truly profound discussion movie. In some ways the content is age-appropriate for tweens -- language, violence, and sexual content are all mild -- but in others it's very mature. The main character is a terminally ill man who drinks like a fish and doesn't seem to care about living -- which may feel too tragic, or even scary, for young viewers. Even the religious themes (neighbors are having visions in the main character's back yard) may overwhelm some kids. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Though it's hobbled by a murky, sometimes mawkish script, HENRY POOLE IS HERE is still surprisingly interesting, if only because it dares to wear its faith on its sleeve. Irony doesn't live here, and that's very refreshing -- as is the courage to take on such a complicated subject. Wilson is perfect for the job; he's the picture of man defeated, shuffling to an inevitable death. Henry fights any hope that's sent his way -- including the appropriately named Esperanza -- and Wilson makes his struggles palpable. Here is a man who doesn't want to believe but is confronted with many reasons why he might want to.
Still, you have to wonder how much stronger the movie would have been had the filmmakers trimmed down some of the more portentous bits. Nearly every epiphany is foreshadowed, and situations are rigged for maximum tearjerking effect, which, of course, renders them that much less potent. For instance, must grocery girl Patience be saddled with such an obvious name (not to mention Coke-bottle glasses) when she is, quite plainly, supposed to be the character who sees life so clearly? Tonally, too, the movie is all over the place; one minute it's funny, the next it's somber. Even though we already want to believe, director Mark Pellington makes sure to milk the emotion in nearly every scene so that nothing's left to serendipity, leaving little reason for us to take a leap of faith.
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Our Editors Recommend
Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.See how we rate