Writer: Gregg Hurwitz (Screenplay)
Starring: Naomi Watts, Jaeden Lieberher, Jacob Tremblay, Sarah Silverman, Dean Norris, Lee Pace, Maddie Ziegler
Plot: 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.
Tagline – Never leave things undone.
Runtime: 1 Hour 45 Minutes
There may be spoilers the rest of the review
Verdict: Sweet Little Tale
Story: The Book of Henry starts as we meet 12-year-old Henry (Lieberher) who is the brains in the family with his little brother Peter (Tremblay) and single working mother Susan (Watts). Henry is a genius and knows how to support the family with his stock tips.
When Henry starts to suspect his neighbour Glenn Sickleman (Norris) of abusing his stepdaughter Christina (Ziegler) he wants to solve the problem, though none of the adults will listen to him. Henry writes a book on how to save Christina, which Susan finds and goes out to complete his work and save her.
Thoughts on The Book of Henry
Characters – Susan is the mother of the house, though she doesn’t have the full responsibility in the house as she lets her genius son Henry handle the finances in the home. She is a single working mother that does everything she can to help her kids, enjoys a drink with her best friend Sheila and videos to release the stress, she must go through a difficult process when Henry becomes sick and wants to follow his book to do the right thing. Henry is a genius 12-year-old boy, he keeps his family together while trying to leave his own legacy, he knows how to work the stock market which keeps the family a float and when he sees wrong in the world he wants to help change it, this brings him to write a book to stop the abuse of his neighbour by her stepfather. Peter is the younger brother to Henry, he always looks up to him and wants to help him with his innocent being the only thing that lets Henry have fun. Sheila is the best friend and work colleague of Susan, she enjoys herself a drink and has great banter with Henry. Glenn is the neighbour and police chief living next door to the Carpenter family, he has a stepdaughter that he is abusing though he position of power makes it nearly impossible for him to get investigated. Dr Daniels is the man that must treat Henry, he must help the family through the difficult decision.
Performances – Naomi Watts in the leading role is great through this film, we see how her character needs to develop after what happens to Henry. Jaeden continues to show us he is a fast-rising child star along with Jacob Tremblay who are both going to be talked about as a couple of the best of the current generations. Silverman, Morris and Pace give us good supporting performances throughout the film too.
Story – The story here follows a genius son that helps run the family to help take the pressure of his single mother, he plans long term and wants to make the world a better place, though when sees abuse he wants to step in and help. He doesn’t expect the short term though, leaving his legacy to his mother to help solve the abuse he sees the neighbour going through. We do have moments that make the children feel like they are in ‘Pay it Forward’ which does have a better message about, doing something to make the world a better place, this story does get that message over and does make you want to help bring calm to the world. if I was being honest with the way the story is told, I feel it would have been nice to mix the planning Henry does with the actual plan rather than showing his plan before the incident.
Crime – The film does have a crime base to everything going on, we get to see how Henry sees a crime being committed and the only way he can solve it is to have someone commit a crime for him.
Settings – The film shows us the simple life the Carpenter family are currently living and how Henry is happy with this even though he can make them rich with a blink of an eye, he wants family over anything.
Final Thoughts – This is a film that has taken a beating by the critics and sure there are a couple of weaknesses in this film, but the core of the story is one of the most interesting ways to show a child genius doing the right thing in life, well-acted and one people should be giving a chance too.
Overall: Nice story about leaving a legacy.