Register  |   Log In  |  
Sign up to our weekly newsletter    
Search   
Empire Magazine and iPad
Follow Me on Pinterest YouTube Tumblr
Empire
Trending On Empire
The Big 2015 Movie Preview
The 50 Best Films Of 2014
Review Of The Year 2014
Subscribe To Empire!
Get 12 issues from just £25
Must-Have Movie Collectibles
Bid on some classic memorabilia
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
Erebus: Into The Unknown
3 Star Empire Rating
Walesa: Man of Hope
4 Star Empire Rating
Warn that Man
3 Star Empire Rating
West 11
2 Star Empire Rating
We Joined The Navy
3 Star Empire Rating



5 STAR REVIEWS
Les Miserables
5 Star Empire Rating
Duke of Burgundy, The
5 Star Empire Rating
Whiplash
5 Star Empire Rating
EMPIRE ESSAY: When Harry Met Sally
5 Star Empire Rating
Leviathan
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
Joaquin Phoenix Talks Inherent Vice
Plus co-stars Josh Brolin and Katherine Waterston

Stephen Daldry Talks Trash
The Billy Elliot man on his Rio carnival and training as a clown

Colin Firth And Taron Egerton Talk Kingsman: The Secret Service
Plus Samuel L. Jackson on bad-guy duties

A Brief History Of The Ring
Everything you need to know about the J-horror reboot

The X-Men TV Series: 10 Possible Plotlines
Mutants on a budget? We suggest some ideas for Fox’s new franchise extension

10 Kid-Friendly Marvel Comics That Could Be The Next Big Hero 6
Walt Disney Animation Studios have a lot to play with elsewhere in the Marvelverse

20 Sitcom Spin-Offs That Were Doomed To Fail
From Joey to Ally and back again…

Subscribe to Empire magazine
Get 12 Issues Of Empire For Only £25!

Get exclusive subscriber-only covers each month!

Subscribe today

Subscribe to Empire iPad edition
Get The Empire iPad Edition Today

Subscribe and save maney on annual digital subscription

Subscribe today
Buy single issues

Get 12 issues of Empire for just £25!
Get exclusive subscriber-only covers each month Subscribe today!
Empire's Film Studies 101 Series
Everything you ever wanted to know about filmmaking but were afraid to ask...
The Empire iPad Edition
With exclusive extras, interactive features, trailers and much more! Download now
Home  |  News  |  Blogs  |  Reviews  |  Future Films  |  Features  |  Interviews  |  Images  |  Competitions  |  Forum  |  iPad  |  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)