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The Book of Henry (2017)

PG-13 | | Crime, Drama, Thriller | 23 June 2017 (USA)
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With instructions from her genius son's carefully crafted notebook, a single mother sets out to rescue a young girl from the hands of her abusive stepfather.

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345 ( 264)
1 nomination. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Dr. David Daniels
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Principal Wilder
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Mrs. Evans
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Tommy (as Max Simkins)
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Morris
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Nurse Leah
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Big Ed
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Gary
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Storyline

Sometimes things are not always what they seem, especially in the small suburban town where the Carpenter family lives. Single suburban mother Susan Carpenter works as a waitress at a diner, alongside feisty family friend Sheila. Her younger son Peter is a playful 8-year-old. Taking care of everyone and everything in his own unique way is Susan's older son Henry, age 11. Protector to his adoring younger brother and tireless supporter of his often self-doubting mother - and, through investments, of the family as a whole - Henry blazes through the days like a comet. Susan discovers that the family next door, which includes Henry's kind classmate Christina, has a dangerous secret - and that Henry has devised a surprising plan to help. As his brainstormed rescue plan for Christina takes shape in thrilling ways, Susan finds herself at the center of it. Written by Focus Features

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Never leave things undone.

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Thriller

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for thematic elements and brief strong language | See all certifications »

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Details

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Release Date:

23 June 2017 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

El libro secreto de Henry  »

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Box Office

Budget:

$10,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$1,424,540, 16 June 2017, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$4,219,536, 7 July 2017
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

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2.00 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Big screen debut of Maddie Ziegler. See more »

Goofs

Henry is seen using a payphone to make stock trades. He is using fractions. While it could be just his personality/condition, US markets switched to decimals on April 9, 2001. Later in the movie the doctor shows the MRI scan on a tablet to advanced for pre-2001. See more »

Quotes

John: [to his brother Glenn] I can't protect you right now.
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Connections

References Rear Window (1954) See more »

Soundtracks

Amazing Grace
Traditional
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User Reviews

 
Surprisingly good with excellent performances, writing and camera work
16 June 2017 | by See all my reviews

I had no expectations going into this movie. I knew I like the director, the leading actress and it had an interesting premise. However, I was pleasantly surprised by this under-the-radar film and am sure general audiences will as well. The Book of Henry is an emotionally affecting film with a few fine messages about parenthood and altruism.

The movie actually surprised me. Perhaps it's because I had no prior knowledge about it, but the twist (I don't think it's supposed to be a twist per se) in the movie is reminiscent of Psycho, in that the seeming protagonist has an interesting cinematic journey. That provides the basis of our catharsis. It's actually very solid writing. We become invested in this character who has a charm and wit about him that's irresistibly likable and we fall for him. We become invested in his relationships with his mother, his little brother and his neighbor. The plot is already in motion and then the twist happens.

After this twist, the true protagonist comes to the forefront and we become invested in her because we feel for her and root for her cause. The only issue - her cause happens to be literally unbelievable and predictably improbable. However, we find ourselves nearly believing it. I mean, there's a sequence that's utterly Hitchcockian, when there's cross editing between two separate scenes. One scene is used as the musical background for the other and the tension is palpable. It's reminiscent of the concert scene in The Man Who Knew Too Much. It all comes to a satisfying ending that we all knew was coming and yet, isn't any less smile inducing.

The performances are very good. Naomi Watts is one of our generation's most consistent actors and the youngsters Jacob Tremblay and Jaeden Lieberher hold their weight and then some. However the score and direction deserve a lot of credit. The film is very well paced and switches between tones so seamlessly. Never are we pulled out of the film because it gets boring or it goes too quickly or it switches between genres.

A lot of reviews are bashing the film. Don't get me wrong, it has its flaws. The foundation of the character is never told and is a glaring hole. A few plot elements are improbable, definitely. However, those are forgivable in the grand scheme. This film has charm and intrigue. I believe it'll go down as one of those films where critics and general audiences just don't agree. With that said, I give this movie 3 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 10 to 18. It can be seen at a local theater when it opens June 16, 2017.

Reviewed by Willie J., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic.


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