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The Book of Henry

The Book of Henry

Directed by Colin Trevorrow. Starring Naomi Watts, Jaeden Lieberher, Jacob Tremblay, Dean Norris, Lee Pace, Maddie Ziegler. (2017, PG-13, 105 min.)

REVIEWED By Josh Kupecki, Fri., June 16, 2017

There are many reasons we go to the movies. To laugh, to cry, to feel. Cinema can provide a balm for our souls and a glimpse into lives we would never know had we not bought the ticket (or more often, clicked play on our streaming service). What then, to make of The Book of Henry, one of the most ill-conceived films I have seen in recent memory. A story of a genius boy (he prefers the term “precocious”), Henry (Lieberher) who, when he’s not filling notebooks with Rube Goldbergian sketches and plans for his family’s future (Naomi Watts is the mom, Jacob Tremblay is the younger brother; no idea where the dad went), he’s balancing the checkbook and playing the stock market. Oh, and he dies of a brain tumor 30 minutes into the movie.

In a script that would have been killed in a first round of pitches in any Screenwriting 101 class, The Book of Henry then becomes a film about the notebooks that Henry left behind, and how Susan (Watts) and her remaining son Peter (Tremblay) deal with the fact that Henry has noticed that their next-door neighbor Christina (Ziegler) is being abused by her stepfather Glenn (Norris). Our first hint at Glenn’s unsavoriness is conveyed by his solemn admonishment that Susan keep the leaves from her trees off of his lawn, which is the movie’s shorthand for saying, “this guy is a real creep.” It doesn’t help that Dean Norris has nothing to do but look like Dean Norris, which is the extent of his character development. Henry has not only left detailed notebooks behind, describing an elaborate plan for Susan to free Christina from her stepdad’s clutches, but he also left audiotapes for her to listen to, complete with pauses and asides, as if they were having a conversation. It is a cheesy and maudlin conceit in a film that revels in both of those things. At the point in the film where Watts’ Susan is running through the forest with a sniper rifle, I was out. The Book of Henry is the most misguided film since the 2003 Gary Oldman abomination Tiptoes. Trevorrow is slated to helm an upcoming Star Wars film, so y’all have fun with that.

Alamo Drafthouse Lakeline

14028 U.S. Hwy. 183 N.  512/861-7070

drafthouse.com/austin/theater/lakeline

SAT JUN 24

5:10, 8:10

SUN JUN 25

5:10, 8:10

MON JUN 26

5:10, 8:10

TUE JUN 27

5:10, 8:10

Arbor Cinema @ Great Hills

9828 Great Hills Trail  512/231-9742

Discounts daily before 6pm.

SAT JUN 24

CC/DVS: 12:45, 3:45, 7:00, 9:45

SUN JUN 25

CC/DVS: 12:45, 3:45, 7:00, 9:45

MON JUN 26

CC/DVS: 12:45, 3:45, 7:00, 9:45

TUE JUN 27

CC/DVS: 12:45, 3:45, 7:00, 9:45

WED JUN 28

CC/DVS: 12:45, 3:45, 7:00, 9:45

THU JUN 29

CC/DVS: 12:45, 3:45, 7:00, 9:45

Barton Creek Square (AMC)

2901 South Capital of Texas Hwy  512/306-1991

www.amctheatres.com

Matinee discounts available before 4pm daily. Bring Your Baby matinees the first Tuesday of every month.

SAT JUN 24

CC/DVS: 7:10, 10:00

SUN JUN 25

CC/DVS: 7:10, 10:00

MON JUN 26

CC/DVS: 7:10, 10:00

TUE JUN 27

CC/DVS: 7:10, 10:00

WED JUN 28

CC/DVS: 7:10, 10:00

Cinemark Hill Country Galleria 14

12812 Hill Country Blvd., Bee Cave  800/326-3264

www.cinemark.com/theater_showtimes.asp?theater_id=377

SAT JUN 24

Luxury Lounger CinéArts: 11:00am, 1:55, 7:25

SUN JUN 25

MON JUN 26

Luxury Lounger CinéArts: 11:00am, 1:55, 7:25

Violet Crown Cinema

434 W. Second  512/495-9600

www.violetcrowncinema.com

Four-hour parking validation in attached garage with ticket purchase. Reserved seating; bar and cafe on-site.

SAT JUN 24

11:15am, 2:05, 5:00, 7:15

SUN JUN 25

11:15am, 2:05, 5:00, 7:15

MON JUN 26

11:15am, 2:05, 5:00, 7:15

TUE JUN 27

11:20am, 2:05, 5:00
READ MORE
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KEYWORDS FOR THIS FILM

The Book of Henry, Colin Trevorrow, Naomi Watts, Jaeden Lieberher, Jacob Tremblay, Dean Norris, Lee Pace, Maddie Ziegler

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