So many films are released every week that it is hard to keep track of them all. Especially if they are niche or smaller films. As such, sometimes worthwhile watches fall between the cracks. Most will have never heard of The Book of Henry despite the fact that it stars recognizable names like Naomi Watts, Dean Norris and Jacob Tremblay. I am here to say that the Colin Trevorrow (Jurassic World, Safety Not Guaranteed) film The Book of Henry is one you should put on your list for when you are in the mood for a heartwarming film that might make you shed a few tears.
Susan Carpenter (Naomi Watts – Mulholland Drive, The Ring) is a single mother who has two boys and works as a waitress. One of her sons is 8-year-old Peter (Jacob Tremblay – Room, Before I Wake) is a “normal” boy while the older son, Henry (Jaeden Lieberher – It, St. Vincent) is a genius.
Henry is truly the man of the house as he is Peter’s protector and pretty much runs the house including finances. Because of his intelligence and circumstances, he has grown up quickly. That burden becomes even heavier when he suspects that something foul is happening to his neighbour and classmate, Christina (Maddie Ziegler – best known for her appearances in many Sia videos). Henry will not ignore it and vows to do something to help her out. In short order he has a plan devised and it involves his mother.
Just like his character Jaeden Lieberher is a stand out in this film. As far as acting goes the three mains along with Sarah Silverman, in a supporting role, all turn in solid performances, but Lieberher is really the center of the film despite the fact that he is up against a well known entity such as Naomi Watts.
There are some odd or unique moments in the film. It seems in the beginning that we are just going to get a heartwarming boy growing up film that we have all seen many times and for the most part enjoyed. The suddenly about 30 minutes in it changes completely into something involving child abuse and a young person with a terminal illness. It is rather jarring. No more idyllic small town America film. What ends up happening is cathartic rather than anger inducing. That is due to the solid writing by Gregg Hurwitz (writer of television series V), who brings us along on this journey which, like life, has its dark and bright moments.
Yes, the film is sugary sweet in a non-sickening way and the child molesting part seem overexaggerated a little, but you really have to be without a heart not to enjoy it. What it is is an enjoyable film that will afford a pleasant evening to whomever watches it.
-Filming The Book of Henry
-The Book of Henry: The Cast
-Previews of Beginners, Dallas Buyers Club, The Theory of Everything, The Danish Girl, Loving, A Monster Call