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Henry Fool [DVD] [1998]

5.0 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Actors: Parker Posey, James Urbaniak, Thomas Jay Ryan, Maria Porter, Kevin Corrigan
  • Directors: Hal Hartley
  • Format: PAL
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 4:3 - 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: 18
  • Studio: Artificial Eye
  • DVD Release Date: 27 July 2009
  • Run Time: 137 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00288A1ME
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 63,677 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Product Description

Product Description

Henry Fool is a faustian black comedy about a nerdy garbage man who s life is turned upside down by Henry Fool an ex convict, sex offending, chain smoking, beer guzzling egomaniac. Henry opens a magical world of literature to Simon who turns his hand to writing the 'great American poem', but as Simon begins his controversial ascent to the dizzying heights of Nobel Prize winning poet, Henry s past is about to catch up with him. This is the first time Henry Fool' has been available in the UK on DVD. SPECIAL FEATURES: Two Short Films by Hal Hartley - The Theory of Achievement & Ambition

Customer Reviews

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By Daniel Jolley HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on 27 May 2007
Format: DVD
One tries not to throw the word brilliant around too often, as doing so robs the word of any meaning, so I am quite sincere when I bestow the word brilliant on this remarkable film - after all, what is artistic brilliance if not the ability to call forth beauty from the midst of ugliness? This story takes place against a depressing backdrop of poverty, desperation, and dysfunction. Simon Grim (James Urbaniak) works as a garbage man, endures physical attacks on the streets, and comes home each night to a thoroughly dysfunctional family. His mother is obviously depressed and, at times, nonresponsive, while his sister Faye (Parker Posey) is irresponsible and only interested in fulfilling her own [...] needs as often as possible. Simon himself seems anti-social if not mentally challenged. Then a stranger named Henry Fool (Thomas Jay Ryan) shows up and changes everything. He has a magnetic personality, albeit one that pushes some people away while drawing others in, and he befriends Simon. Beaming literary pretentiousness, Henry goes on and on about his personal memoirs (or confessions), which he assures Simon will revolutionize the world and society when they are completed and published. When Simon begins following Henry's lead, he produces a new kind of poetry, one which Henry hails as cutting-edge and revolutionary. While his mother and sister ridicule him, Simon is encouraged by Henry to keep writing, rightly pointing to some amazing changes that occur in individuals who read a sampling of his work. Critics initially hail his great poem as poorly written and [...] (the ultimate put-down), yet Simon perseveres through doubt, tragedy, and controversy, eventually meeting with great success - which changes the lives of these characters irrevocably.Read more ›
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By A Customer on 12 Jun. 2000
This film discusses, in Hal Hartley's typical quirky manner, the essence of art. The film starts with the arrival of gift-of-the-gab stranger Henry Fool to rent the dark basement room of a suburban house. He is shown in by Simon Grim (Urbaniak), the reputedly slow elder son who is limited to a career as a garbarge collector, and who lives with his tranquilised mother and sister (Parker Posy) who doesn't seem to do anything. When Simon tells Henry that people think he is slow, he is given an exercise book and told to write whatever he feels unable to say in it. Simon duly fills the book and collapses in an exhausted sleep. What then follows is Fool's campaign to get the 'poetry' within the book, published. By sticking pages up in the local store for all to read, emotions are fired as people are disgusted at the pornography, drop-out kids are tempted into politics, and Fool and Grim's notoriety and fame increases. The film is a highly entertaining, witty and amusing look at what makes something art: is it just well managed hype or is content important? Every character has a strong development, including people you thought you hadn't noticed, and the ending ... is perfect.
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By Tim Kidner TOP 500 REVIEWER on 29 April 2012
Format: DVD
Now, I'm not really a literary person, but I love film and this gem sparkles. For me, an unknown director and two lead actors was given credence by solidly good reviews and when it was shown on Sky Arts, I recorded it. I had heard of - and seen Parker Posey in films before, though.

Henry Fool covers vast areas of literary philosophy and it is itself literary in its sheer story-telling. Ever intriguing, the characters jump off the screen, larger-than-life, yes, but, oh, so honestly displayed, we feel we know these individuals, like they were friends and neighbours.

James Urbaniak, as the gangly, bespectacled refuse collector, Simon, whose social graces are near nil, who we see right at the start stumbling across a fornicating couple, is superb. Via several narrative routes, Simon gets to meet up with roguish, ex-con (sex offender) Faustian, Henry Fool, who is a confident, scruffy novelist (Thomas Jay Ryan). Henry gets Simon to write, in an attempt to get his thoughts and feelings out and to communicate better with the world.

Over the film's two-and-a-quarter hours, we witness Henry messing up his life more and more - getting Simon's sister (Posey) pregnant and drinking into addiction and getting further into debt. Meanwhile, Simon's poetry is cautiously received, initially cited as 'pornographic' but daring and brilliant, culminating in a Nobel Prize. Henry, meanwhile, always on the cusp (but never getting there) of finishing his own great memoirs, being actually rather untalented, falls further apart.

What ensues from Hartley's Cannes-winning screenplay is a detailed, original and very realistic tale of two oddballs and their surrounding loved ones and associates, which never rushes either them, nor us.
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