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Parents' Guide to

Old Henry

By Jeffrey Anderson, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 15+

Classically built Western explores themes of violence; guns.

Movie NR 2021 99 minutes
Old Henry Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 18+

Based on 1 parent review

age 18+

This title has:

Too much swearing

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (1 ):
Kids say (2 ):

A well-cast Nelson is at the center of this classically built Western, which uses well-defined spaces to explore themes of violence, risk, and caution, as well as packing a surprising wallop. Old Henry opens with Henry's narration, and it's hard not to recall Nelson in as Buster Scruggs in the opening segment of Joel and Ethan Coen's anthology Western The Ballad of Buster Scruggs, narrating with a cheerful bounce and twinkle and singing songs. But aside from also being a gunfighter, Nelson's character here couldn't be more different. Henry is nervy and paranoid and "ended up" being a farmer, as if he deserved nothing else. His every thought and move is about controlling and protecting, even though his appearance suggests the opposite. He looks small and gaunt, with stringy hair and an unbecoming snaggletooth. (Looks can be deceiving.)

Writer/director Potsy Ponciroli does an excellent job of placing Henry and the other characters in the movie's landscape. Almost all the action takes place at the farmhouse, with Henry peering at a grassy hill, waiting for intruders to appear over the crest. The moment Henry realizes that they're going to have company, the camera tracks backward, leaving him small and vulnerable in the open. Henry's relationship with Wyatt, who's impetuous and adventurous, and his juxtaposition with Curry (handsome and tricky), provide more drama and friction inside the house. Truth be told, most good Westerns of the last century have already broached all these subjects, and Old Henry really doesn't add anything new, but it's so well made that they're worth experiencing again.

Movie Details

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