Henry Fool

Watch Henry Fool

"An honest man is always in trouble..."
  • R
  • 1998
  • 2 hr 17 min
  • 7.1  (7,662)
  • 68

Henry Fool is a dark comedy-drama film directed, written, and produced by Hal Hartley in 1997. The story revolves around the life of Henry Fool, played by Thomas Jay Ryan, a vagrant and a troubled writer with a questionable past, who befriends the nerdy and socially awkward Simon Grim, portrayed by James Urbaniak. Parker Posey also stars in the film as a barmaid named Fay.

The movie begins with Simon living a mundane life working at a garbage disposal plant and caring for his abusive sister. Simon's mundane existence takes a turn when Henry Fool arrives in town and takes up residence in Simon's basement. Simon is initially apprehensive about Henry, but as he starts to get to know him, he becomes fascinated by his new friend's devil-may-care attitude and unconventional ideas.

Henry sees great potential in Simon's writing abilities and inspires him to explore his talent. Simon, in turn, finds a new sense of purpose and begins to write his own epic poem, with Henry acting as his muse and critic.

As Simon's confidence grows, he starts to assert himself in his personal life, standing up to his sister and confronting his crush, Mary. At the same time, Henry's secretive past and cryptic behavior come into focus, leading to a series of troubling events that threaten to derail Simon's newfound creative energy.

The movie is full of dark humor, obscure references, and unexpected plot twists that keep the audience guessing. The central themes of the film include friendship, creativity, and intellectualism, as well as the societal pressures and expectations that can stifle creativity and innovation.

The acting in Henry Fool is exceptional, with Thomas Jay Ryan delivering a complex and memorable performance as the eponymous character. James Urbaniak also shines as the awkward and bumbling Simon, while Parker Posey adds some much-needed levity to the film as the sassy and irreverent barmaid.

The cinematography and visual style of Henry Fool are also noteworthy, with Hartley using a combination of long takes, unusual angles, and striking compositions to create a distinctive and visually arresting film. The sound design and music are also well-crafted, adding an additional layer of tension and emotion to the story.

Overall, Henry Fool is a darkly comedic and thought-provoking film that challenges its audience with its unconventional story and characters. It's a movie that rewards close attention and rewards repeat viewings, as there are many subtle details and clues that are easy to miss on first viewing. The film is not for everyone, but for those who appreciate intelligent and challenging cinema, it's a must-see.

Henry Fool is a 1998 comedy with a runtime of 2 hours and 17 minutes. It has received mostly positive reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 7.1 and a MetaScore of 68.

Henry Fool
Where to Watch Henry Fool
Henry Fool is available to watch, stream, download and buy on demand at Amazon Prime, Apple TV, Amazon, Google Play, YouTube VOD and Vudu. Some platforms allow you to rent Henry Fool for a limited time or purchase the movie and download it to your device.
  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    2 hr 17 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    7.1  (7,662)
  • Metascore