The Plot

Luke Wilson stars as Henry Poole alongside Academy Award-nominee Adriana Barraza and Radha Mitchell in a tale about the search for salvation.

The perfect life that is Henry Pooleâ??s is dealt a blow when a routine visit to the Doctorâ??s rooms reveals a life-threatening illness leaves him only weeks to live.

Henry tries to escape the reality of his impending death

Abandoning the comforts of his once ideal existence, Henry retreats to a working-class suburb to deal with the reality of his impending death, finding solace in his own company. Intrusions from his well-meaning neighbours, Esperanza, Dawn and Millie disrupt whatever intentions he has of wallowing in self-pity.

Changing his attitude will take a miracle

The discovery of a Christ-like apparition on the wall of Henryâ??s home prompts a steady stream of miracle-seekers into his backyard whilst a skeptical Henry Poole refuses to acknowledge any religious beliefs associated with the wall.

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Whatâ??s right with it?

At the helm of this exploration into devastation and personal discovery is Mark Pellington who is inspired by his own personal tragedy, the loss of his wife. This explains Poole’s disillusionment, which is executed to perfection by Wilson’s portrayal of the character.

Equally evocative are scenes where the apparition becomes the focal point of healing or transformation and which is sure to resonate with the religiously inclined.

Whatâ??s wrong with it?

Whilst there are moments of sheer compelling viewing especially where the apparition comes into play, many of the other scenes prove to be less intriguing. Questions of salvation and faith abound and the movies close does little to answer these, leaving us with an ending so open to interpretation as to be unconvincing.

Although Luke Wilson and Morgan Lily [Millie] provide inspired performances that resonate, the same cannot be said of George Lopez who makes a star turn as Catholic priest, Father Salazar. His characterization is paper-thin and doesn’t quite manage to counsel Henryâ??s faith crisis.

Verdict

Henry Poole is the story of a disillusioned man who tries to avoid life but instead discovers hope. Although not a film about religion or God in the strictest sense, those with religious affinities will recognize familiar references to the doubting Thomas figure that is Henry Poole, who lacks the faith of a mustard seed.

For those without such leanings, it might prompt thoughts about your personal beliefs regarding faith and what it means to you.

Rotten Tomatoes Ratings
Critics Average Rating: 48%
Community Average Rating: 75%

The Tomatometer measures the percentage of positive reviews.