Register  |   Log In  |  
Sign up to our weekly newsletter    
Search   
Empire Magazine and iPad
Follow Me on Pinterest YouTube Tumblr Viber
Empire
Trending On Empire
The Big 2015 Movie Preview
The 50 Best Films Of 2014
Review Of The Year 2014
Download Ex Machina
Before the DVD release on 8th June
Win Premiere Tickets
To see Mission: Impossible in Vienna.
Reviews
STAR RATINGS EXPLAINED
Unmissable 5 Stars
Excellent 4 Stars
Good 3 Stars
Poor 2 Stars
Tragic 1 Star

FILM DETAILS
Certificate
18
Cast
Thomas Jay Ryan
James Urbaniak
Parker Posey.
Directors
Hal Hartley.
Screenwriters
Hal Hartley.
Running Time
137 minutes

LATEST FILM REVIEWS
Magic Mike XXL
2 Star Empire Rating
Dear White People
4 Star Empire Rating
Man With A Movie Camera
5 Star Empire Rating
Hot Pursuit
3 Star Empire Rating
Cub
4 Star Empire Rating



5 STAR REVIEWS
Man With A Movie Camera
5 Star Empire Rating
Salt Of The Earth, The
5 Star Empire Rating
Song Of The Sea
5 Star Empire Rating
Look Of Silence, The
5 Star Empire Rating
Mad Max: Fury Road
5 Star Empire Rating

Henry Fool
Hal Hartley offers up more offbeat dramedy.


submit to reddit


Plot
A blue collar family (shy rubbish collector Simon(Urbaniak), his depressed mother (Porter), and nymphomaniac sister (Posey))'s life is disrupted by the arrival of homespun intellectual-cum-egomaniac Henry Fool (Ryan). With his encouragement, Simon becomes a celebrated porno-poet, while Henry sets about seducing his mum and sis.


Review
For his sixth feature, American indie hero Hal Hartley has pulled off a neat trick. He has turned out a film that is the same as his impressive back catalogue - quirky talk-driven curiosities about people living on the fringes of society - yet somehow different, managing to imbue his usual obsessions with the freshness and vitality of a first-time director.

All the usual Hartley trademarks - oblique observations, zero degree humour, the experimentation with storytelling conventions - are thrown into the mix but what distinguishes Henry Fool from his previous movies is the skewed satire about the "real" world (everything from publishing to politics), a dash of (literal) toilet humour and a touching demeanour toward its characters' flaws and aspirations. Ryan is intimidating as Henry, at once forceful yet pitiable, and Posey lends layers of decency and complexity to her potentially one-note sex bomb. But the film finds its real centre in Urbaniak, his quiet demeanour growing gradually affective as the film progresses.


Verdict
A tad too long, and the second half fails to deliver on the promise of the first, but Hartley's confident handling of the broad canvas is deft and controlled. It may not bring him to a wider audience but this emerges as one of Hartley's most interesting, accessible and enjoyable efforts to date.


Reviewed by Ian Freer

Write Your Review
To write your review please login or register.


CURRENT HIGHLIGHTS
100 Greatest Movie Characters
Your all-time favourite heroes and villains exclusively revealed!

Bonfire Of The Vanities: When Personal Projects Go Wrong
15 hubristic horrors that went straight to movie jail

Podcast 167: Emily Mortimer, Robert Sheehan, Corin Hardy
It's the live Edinburgh special round 2!

The 15 Most Exciting Games Of E3
The greatest games currently winging their way towards a console near you

Distribution Denied! 25 Films You Can't Get On DVD
The movies that have never seen the transfer to digital disc

Hollywood Jackanory: Stars Reading Things Out Of Context
From Ian McKellen vs. One Direction to Hugh Jackman vs. baking innuendos

Before And After: How 10 Books Changed On Their Way To Becoming Movies
...And how their authors reacted

Subscribe to Empire magazine
Empire print magazine

Delivered to your door – with exclusive subscriber only covers each month!

Subscribe and save 44%

Subscribe to Empire iPad edition
Empire digital magazine

Exclusive and enhanced content – get instant access via your iPad or Android device

Subscribe and save 44%

Subscribe now and save up to 67%
Print, Digital & Package options available Subscribe today!
Empire's Film Studies 101 Series
Everything you ever wanted to know about filmmaking but were afraid to ask...
The Empire Digital Edition
With exclusive extras, interactive features, trailers and much more! Download now
Home  |  News  |  Blogs  |  Reviews  |  Future Films  |  Features  |  Interviews  |  Images  |  Competitions  |  Forum  |  Digital Edition  |  Podcast  |  Magazine Contact Us  |  Empire FAQ  |  Subscribe To Empire  |  Register
© Bauer Consumer Media Ltd  |  Legal Info  |  Editorial Complaints  |  Privacy Policy  |  Bauer Entertainment Network
Bauer Consumer Media Ltd (company number 01176085 and registered address 1 Lincoln Court, Lincoln Road, Peterborough, England PE1 2RF)