The Book of Henry

Movie review by Joyce Slaton, Common Sense Media
The Book of Henry Poster Image

Common Sense says

age 14+

Muddled dramedy deals with dark, disturbing topics.

PG-13 2017 105 minutes

Parents say

age 12+

Based on 12 reviews

Kids say

age 12+

Based on 36 reviews

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Community Reviews

age 14+

I will NOT discuss how this story unfolds.

This is one of the best movies I have ever seen. I will NOT discuss how this story unfolds. Our main protagonist, Henry, is an 11 year old genius. He is almost too smart to be believed but, being rather smart myself, I have spent lots of time around smart people, even when I was growing up, and I can tell you from first hand experience that there are kids like Henry out there. Sadly they are rare. Our second protagonist, Henry's mother, cares deeply about her two sons. She is a single mother, and that's relevant to the plot. We are never told how she came to be a single mother, but that is unimportant. Being such a good mother she has imbued Henry and his younger brother with a sense of decency and responsibility, and Henry uses his genius in his own unique ways. It's a delight to watch. When I was his age I did a number of the same things, but clearly he is way beyond where I was at 11 years old. The story takes off when we find out that Henry has figured out, correctly, that the girl next door, a classmate of his, is being abused by her step father, and Henry sets out to stop it. Henry is driven by a powerful sense of injustice about what is happening to the girl, something I understand well. I know this because I was a severely abused child myself. My own mother was "less than ideal", but there were other adults in my childhood who were there for me so my life has turned out well in spite of my mother. But because of my background I know the rage at betrayal which Henry feels, and I know his determination to set things right. As the story unfolds we see his determination to end the girl's abuse, and the story beautifully lays out for us the reasons why it goes in the direction it does. This is an intelligent, carefully crafted, nearly flawless story. I urge you to go see it. For me it is one of the best movies ever.

This title has:

Great role models
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
age 13+

The Book of Henry

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