I remember seeing Henry Fool years ago, but I remembered it being laugh-out-loud funny. This era, my 1999 film-watching era, is highly suspect to me now. It’s pre-Traffic, I suppose.
I’ve tried watching Hartley since. No Such Thing was a particularly terrible experience… or however much of it I saw.
And for most of Henry Fool, I was moving between some low rating, one to one and a half, in line with movielens. What’s important–what’s funny–when you’re twenty isn’t necessarily funny when you’re not. I used to think Mallrats was good, for example.
Henry Fool, which I’m hardly writing about because it’s 2:03 in the morning and I’m tired, does something amazing. It takes one hour and forty-five minutes of one to one and a half star material and then spends twenty-five minutes turning it all into three and a half star material. I’m not aware of a film that becomes so notable so quickly. I really don’t think it’s been done since or before….
Too bad the other Hartley I tried was such a momentous failure. But see Henry Fool. If only for the Parker Posey’s great performance.
Written, directed and produced by Hal Hartley; director of photography, Michael Spiller; edited by Steve Hamilton; music by Hartley; production designer, Steve Rosenzweig; released by Sony Pictures Classics.
Starring Thomas Jay Ryan (Henry Fool), James Urbaniak (Simon Grim), Parker Posey (Fay), Maria Porter (Mary), James Saito (Mr. Deng) and Kevin Corrigan (Warren).