Excellent script by Gregg Hurwitz and direction by Colin Trevorrow was on the mark and kid-friendly because his young stars performed like seasoned adults when needed. The family in this movie is anchored by eleven-year-old Henry who has the intelligence of an Einstein and the maturity of… (awkward pause) I’m sorry I can’t think of anyone that I know who is mature. But you get the point.
Henry Carpenter went to a regular school because his mom (Naomi Watts) wanted him to develop some healthy age-appropriate social skills. Watts’ character, the single mom, played video games and left the financial decisions to Henry. Another wise decision by the waitress-mother who deeply loved Henry and his younger brother, Peter. Henry made stock trades on a pay phone apparently because he was too young to have a cell phone.
Strange family. But, they are loveable and the character development was fantastic. And that is the key to any movie. I understood and liked these characters so I knew that Director Trevorrow was setting me up for the punch in the gut.
And if one is trying to embellish, a Hitchcockian suspense and twist.
There’s not a dull moment in this low-budget film about love, devotion, and doing the next right thing. Estimated $10 million which is extremely low by Little Tom Cruise’s standards, but his “The Mummy” laid an egg for $125 million. So who’s counting? Not me; these simple sets, haunting music, thoughtful costumes, and zero special effects make this film distinctive and evocative.
Big winners: everyone in the film and/or connected to it in any manner; “The Book of Henry” is a huge victor worthy of much acclaim and gold.
Great movies invariably have great casts and this is no exception. Biggest surprise – Sarah Silverman in low-cut blouses, heavy make-up and a drink in her hand. Jaeden Lieberher, 14, as Henry, has carved out an acting career for himself as the multi-layered boy-genius who portrayed kindness, insight, and compassion. Dean “Breaking Bad” Norris is the stern cop living next door to the Carpenters and Lee “Halt and Catch Fire” Pace plays a brain surgeon who will make a house call under the right circumstances.
Target audience: teenage girls based on my audience. And I heard all of them sniffling and shuffling when things got emotionally tender. This flick is high on the “Heart Strings” scale. Take a hanky and have fun. Rock ‘n Roll.
Grade 90. Larry H.