The story centers around Henry Poole, played by Luke Wilson, who has recently been diagnosed with a terminal illness. Poole purchases a house in his old working-class neighborhood where he had a difficult and painful childhood. All he wants to do is to be left alone to live out his remaining days in quiet desperation. His plans also call for the consumption of mass quantities of vodka. Poole feels that life has dealt him an unfavorable hand, and there is little to do but to accept the reality of his situation.
Contrary to Poole’s plans, his peaceful solitude is soon interrupted by his next door neighbor, Esperanza Martinez (Adriana Barraza), who believes that she sees the face of Christ embedded on the exteor wall of Poole’s home. She is convinced that it is a miracle because drops of blood are exuding from the wall.
These are some of the questions that Henry Poole is Here poses. Any time you combine the subject of faith and miracles, you’re sure to open yourself up to criticism. And with that said, most film critics had a field day condemning Henry Poole is Here as nothing more than a complete waste of time.
Was it the subject material or the technical or artistic merits of the film that bothered the critics? I would agree that Henry Poole is Here may not be Oscar-worthy material, but it is a solid effort that, for the most part, hits the mark. This is one of Luke Wilson’s better efforts to date. And the supporting cast is clearly on target.
Two of the key scenes in the movie illustrate the power of God at work in film. The first scene evolves around Poole confronting Esperanza on why she wants Poole to believe that a miracle is taking place and why it is necessary for her faith. Poole expresses his unbelief, resentment and doubt concerning the existence of God. The second scene is when Patience played by Rachel Seiferth expresses her desire to choose to believe in her miracle. This scene is a quiet example of how to share our faith in the small, meaningful moments, which most of us don’t recognize.
If you are looking for a film that is strange, thoughtful and unusual, then Henry Poole is Here is a good choice. Perhaps the real miracle of Henry Poole is Here is believing in something bigger than ourselves and the willingness to accept it. Maybe just discovering the joy of life once again, in and of itself, is a real miracle. For film goers, Henry Poole is Here is truly a miracle because we do not see films that are willing to explore matters of faith, belief, doubt and the healing power of God from mainstream Hollywood. That is truly a miracle.
JOIN US FRIDAY JUNE 8 AT 7 PM FOR FRIDAY NIGHT FLICKS