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Trying to Kill Henry Poole

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:
The Oregonian:

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.

Movies like "Henry Poole Is Here" are part of the reason why.
New York Times says:
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...
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.
The Movie Retreiver says:
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.

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Jeff Miller said...

It is not just secular reviewers that have panned it. Even Christian reviewers didn't think it was that good and that it took a middle of the road approach the miraculous in the movie. I also heard Michael Medved's review and he said much the same.

While it is nice to have a Hollywood film that addresses faith it also needs to be artistically good also.

But some critics reaction is rather odd since the matter of faith and whether a miracle actually occurred is pretty much left open.

Rita S. said...

Roeper, the movie critic on television with Ebert, liked the movie quite a bit.

Kevin said...

It's the same old thing. No one knows anything for sure about faith and hope. But everyone knows everything about rational lines of scientific thought.

Can't wait to see this movie.

Patrick Archbold said...

Well I saw the movie, and while I didn't think it was a great movie, I thought it was pretty good. Better than average.

I thought some of the plot elements were predictable and some of the directing somewhat clumsy. In other words, the director had a tendency to telegraph his punches. Overall, it was an enjoyable movie.

It is certainly not in the painful class of most "christian" movies and not in the class of the "Passion", but good.

I would say 2 ¾ out of 4 stars.

David L Alexander said...

Movie critics are no more insightfull than movie goers. Both know what they like, but one gets to go to the movies more often.

Baron Korf said...

El Rushbo liked it.

Dale said...

Ebert himself liked it. A lot--3.5 stars.


Anonymous said...

Good lord... you call yourself Christian...

Abortion, Limbaugh, Rove politics...

Yes, you're very Christian!

David L Alexander said...

Think that's bad? You call yourself Anonymous.

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