Directed by: Colin Trevorrow
Written by: Greg Hurwitz
Cast: Naomi Watts, Jaeden Lieberher, Jacob Tremblay, Sarah Silverman, Lee Pace
The thing I like most in a movie is when it takes a spectacular turn into the unanticipated or unexpected. The Book Of Henry is just such a film, filled with the best twists and turns I’ve seen in a very long time. It’s also a darn good family drama that accompanies its theme with some very exciting suspense thriller elements.
To his continuing credit, director Colin Trevorrow (Jurassic World, Star Wars: Episode IX) has once again created a credible situation and populated it with some very beguiling actors, young faces that are familiar yet not, but all very talented.
The movie is so well crafted that it doesn’t matter that Naomi Watts’ mother character is a complete ditz, or that Sarah Silverman is totally unnecessary in the film, what does matter is how much you’ll enjoy the trip this movie takes you on. I don’t want to spoil it for you, so I’m not going to be very specific about the description, and don’t let anyone else spoil it for you either.
Here’s the storyline:
On the surface, The Book Of Henry is a family drama about Susan Carpenter (Watts), a self-doubting, suburban single mother raising two boys, eleven year old Henry, a certified genius (Lieberher, St.Vincent), and his eight year old brother Peter, who worships him (Tremblay, Room).
Susan, not the brightest star in the sky, works as a waitress by day and plays video games at night, while Henry brilliantly runs the family finances, tirelessly supports her, and fiercely protects his younger brother from school bullies.
Henry’s days are chock full, challenging his and everyone else’s intellect at school, inventing new contraptions to play with, entertaining his brother, working the stock market, and so on, all the while harboring a crush on Christina (Ziegler, “Pretty Little Liars”), the shy girl next door. When Henry suddenly uncovers a dark secret in her family, he sets in motion a chain of events that dramatically affects everyone’s life.
The young actors steal the movie from the adults. That’s not to say Watts is not good, she is, but she can’t rise above the boys’ charisma.
Lieberher is an amazing actor, totally capturing the essence of Henry and serving him up in the most charming and personable way imaginable. Without his performance, the film would never have gotten off the ground. Tremblay on the other hand, quietly worms his way into your heart and keeps himself there throughout the film. It’s this brotherly relationship, the way it plays out, and how they interface with the world around them that traps you comfortably into the story. It’s something to behold.
So my take… the film is a true winner. It’s a not-to-be missed sentimental drama in the best sense of the word, which will have you laughing one minute and crying the next. See it by all means.