The reviews from people I know of the movie "Henry Poole is Here" have been positive. They call it "feel good" if a little predictable. But everyone I've spoken to really enjoyed it.
HOWEVER, the critics seem to feel a little different. And the reviews aren't just talking about the movie. They seem to take the message of faith in the movie as a personal affront. Check some out here:
In the ongoing cultural debate about religion in this nation, people of faith often complain that secular folks have a stereotypical image of them as soft-headed dolts who are gladly willing to surrender their rationality in favor of soothing, but false and ultimately harmful, hope.New York Times says:
Movies like "Henry Poole Is Here" are part of the reason why.
With characters named Esperanza, Dawn and Patience that signal Deeper Meaning, “Henry Poole Is Here” traffics in the kind of inspirational kitsch that only a true believer could swallow...The Movie Retreiver says:
As Henry engages in furious verbal skirmishes with the true believers, Mr. Wilson offers a credible portrait of an angry, despairing man fending off a cult. But the film’s spiritual deck is stacked. In the mawkish tradition of movies like “Simon Birch,” “Wide Awake,” “August Rush” and “Hearts in Atlantis,” “Henry Poole Is Here” is insufferable hokum that takes itself very, very seriously.
Pellington (the director) hammers and hammers the themes of Henry Poole Is Here into the audience with such force that it literally starts to get uncomfortable. Characters come right out and ask each other if they believe in God, and every single scene feels like part of a manipulative sermon. Hope and faith, by their very nature, are issues that need to be handled with question marks. Atheists and the faithful, no one knows anything for sure. And yet, Henry Poole Is Here features nothing but ham-fisted periods.You mean, people ask each other if they believe in God?! Noooooooooo! As you can see, it doesn't seem like these critics are attacking the movie at all but are uncomfortable with the simple faith of the movie. The critics have essentially savaged the movie. Their reviews are all at Rotten Tomatoes. And according to the site, the aggregate of the critics scores gave the the movie a very low 35%. But when it came to actual people reviewing the movie the people gave it a much higher 73% approval. That's a pretty big swing and shows quite clearly that the critics are out wildly of touch with the people. These critics either don't understand an America that enjoys good, clean movies about faith or they don't want to give you any ideas that faith is possible.