Mr Harrigan’s Phone – Movie Review
Director: John Lee Hancock
Writer: John Lee Hancock (Screenplay)
Writer: Stephen King (Short Story)
- Donald Sutherland (Don’t Look Now)
- Jaeden Martell (Knives Out)
- Kirby Howell-Baptiste (Cruella)
- Joe Tippett (Monsters and Men)
- Cyrus Arnold (Zoolander 2)
Plot: When Mr. Harrigan dies, the teen who befriended and did odd jobs for him, puts his smartphone in his pocket before burial and when the lonely youth leaves his dead friend a message, he is shocked to get a return text.
Runtime: 1 Hour 44 Minutes
There may be spoilers in the rest of the review
Story: Mr Harrigan’s Phone starts when Craig becomes friends with reclusive billionaire Mr Harrigan (Sutherland). Craig visits three times a week to read to Harrigan. Over the years, Craig (Martell) starts to see the changes in his world, reaching high school. Here, Craig sees the change in the world, with the cell phone era creating divides between the students.
Once Craig gets his own cell phone, he introduces Mr Harrigan to them, showing him things, he has been missing out on. Harrigan predicts the downfall of socialisation but is equally addicted to his phone. When Mr Harrigan passes away, Craig leaves his cell phone in his pocket and keeps sending him messages to thank him for life lessons. When Craig gets a reply, he believes Harrigan is still alive.
Verdict on Mr Harrigan’s Phone
Craig is a young boy that gets offered a chance to make some money reading for a reclusive billionaire. Over the years, he builds a friendship, while receiving life lessons about success in business. Once Craig reaches high school, he sees his life change, with the inclusion of cell phones. He becomes addicted to his phone, showing Mr Harrigan the benefits of a cell phone. When Mr Harrigan dies, Craig must learn to deal with his problems alone. Until he gets replies from Mr Harrigan’s phone and turns to him for more problems in his life.
Mr Harrigan is a reclusive billionaire that has made many enemies along the way. He invites Craig to his home to read to him in return for small payments. Harrigan also offers Craig life lessons, seeing he has been struggling, despite coming from a happy home. He becomes addicted to his cell phone in his later years, seeing the damage it will cause society.
In the supporting characters, we get Craig’s father who always supports him. Ms Hart is the kind teacher that is always there to stop conflict and the bully Kenny targets Craig early on in his high school life.
Jaeden Martell is great in the leading role, showing the empathy his character needs throughout his early life. He has become a master of these age roles in thrillers, be it ‘Stephen King’s It’ or ‘Knives Out.’ Donald Sutherland is excellent as a reclusive billionaire. This is the type of role you could see him doing with his eyes closed in his later years.
The story follows a young boy that builds a relationship with a reclusive billionaire and sees himself grow as he goes through high school. He grew a strange connection that even remains after he passed away, leaving him asking plenty of questions about what is happening.
This does turn into a strange story that is more interested in focusing on the boom of cell phones in life. Showing how the social aspect of life vanishes out of nowhere. When it comes to the connection after Mr Harrigan dies, it doesn’t seem to get into any horror aspects.
This sees the story become more of a life drama about growing up, more along the lines of a ‘Stand By Me’. It could even be compared more to a Goosebumps story of a hit of horror to go with the coming-of-age tale.
Mr Harrigan’s Phone is a coming-of-age tale following a boy that makes a connection with a reclusive billionaire throughout his school ages. He must deal with loss in his life, something that has follows him through life. Creating a new connection with the deceased billionaire. It shows that however bad people are, their loved ones will still feel the effects of what happened.
Where to Watch: Mr Harrigan’s Phone is available on Netflix
Final Thoughts – Mr Harrigan’s Phone is a creepy coming-of-age tale, with a massive message about cell phone usage.