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Movie Blog Post: THE BOOK OF HENRY

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By Le Anne Lindsay, Editor

Every minute I was walking the tightrope you’re talking about, every step of the way. And as a result…I never had a moment on Jurassic World where I was as consumed with fear and anxiety about what I was doing as I did on The Book of Henry. But I recognize everything that is dangerous about the choices that the movie makes and I know that if not handled with care, and arguably, if not handled delicately, it’s something that could fall apart. Even if the performances were terrible, it’s something that could fall apart. I would argue the same thing about Safety Not Guaranteed. And so that also is a movie that combines genres and creates something that you can’t necessarily put in a box. Director Colin Trevorrow Interview READ MORE

I read this heartfelt interview with Colin Trevorrow who really fell in love with this story written 19 years ago by Gregg Hurtwitz, and so the director made "The Book of Henry" not for a paycheck, but from a sincere place, so it makes me feel bad for him to read reviews like this:
I’m sure that I’ve forgotten some of the clichés and nonsense stuffed into “The Book of Henry,” but here’s a partial list: a sensitive child genius; a comically dysfunctional family; an overwhelmed single mother; a sassy waitress with a tattoo on her breast played by a name comedian; children acting like parents; parents acting like children; a young, beautiful female victim; the predator next door; an incompetent (but not unkind!) school bureaucrat; a fatal diagnosis; a ticking clock; a race against the clock; a cute doctor played by a TV actor whose name is on the tip of your tongue; and a female star who deserves far better... Manohla Dargis NY Times

I'm not saying Manohla doesn't make some good points.  but I'm more in mind with these two reviewers:
Treverrow has a way with actors that he demonstrated beautifully in his 2012 feature debut Safety Not Guaranteed, a time-travel fantasy that marked an auspicious indie debut. Since then, he's directed one blockbuster (2015's Jurassic World) and is about to embark on Star Wars: Episode IX. Even in the mess of conflicting ideas that is The Book of Henry, you still get a sense of the childlike wonder that drives Treverrow to tell stories. It's a rare gift, and something to help him survive calamitous setbacks like this one. Peter Travers Rolling Stone
After all, if a movie as muddled and as nutty as the Book of Henry can,
for at least an-hour-and-a-half, entertain me and sort of surprise me, yet, at the same time, still feel way too weird, than what’s that say about me? I do like bad movies? Do I give them a pass just because they try something different? Or, am I just too broken down and beaten-up by the everyday, conventional blockbusters that are pushed in front of my face that, when something comes to me, from someone, somewhere, regardless of how messy it is, still makes me think and expect something different, that I just have to accept it for what it is and yeah, possibly even like it? Dan The Man's Movie Reviews

Bottom Line: I found it impossible to hate The Book of Henry because although it's not weirdly different but brilliant, like COLOSSAL, I still have a soft spot for movies about child prodigies - as per my review of Chris Evans and Mckenna Grace in GIFTED or my love of the little seen Disney movie about Ugandan chess prodigy Phiona Mutesi in QUEEN OF KATWE. I also think Jaeden Lieberher (ST VINCENT) is very believable as Henry, a 12 year-old head of the household, who's not only gifted academically, but has the maturity to raise both his child-like mother (Naomi Watts - CHUCK) and adorable little brother (Jacob Tremblay - ROOM), not to mention, bring home the bacon, by providing a nice income for the family through the stock market. The movie really needed to just stick with this premise and make it a dramedy, leaning more towards comic overtones. The B story that becomes the A story near the end, about rescuing the girl next door from her abusive step-father feels like another movie. And the tear-jerking twist in the middle, feels completely manipulative, yet effective, as I was balling my eyes out, but still, even for me, this was too many tones in one flick.

T & T's LAMB (movie bloggers association) Score: 2.5 outta 5
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Check out our 2012 Review of Safety Not Guaranteed

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Movie Blog Post: THE BOOK OF HENRY


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