Claudio Says THE BOOK OF HENRY Is A Great Gem Amongst The Blockbusters

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We’ve been posting a lot of reviews as of late, but they’re all from the typical summer blockbusters we’ve come to expect these days. Finally, I was able to sit down for a nice a little film that will get swallowed up by the Johnny Depp’s and talking raccoons. “The Book of Henry” is directed by Jurassic World’s Collin Trevorrow and stars Naomi Watts, Dean Norris, Jaeden Leiberher, and Hollywood’s favorite Jacob Trembley. Surprised to report that my screening was fully booked and that even press seats were hard to fine. However, after seeing this cast and the movie itself, it definitely deserves the hype.

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“The Book of Henry” introduces us to the tired cliché of the prodigal son. Jaeden Leiberher plays Henry, who is by all accounts a genius. Oddly enough, I’ve never related to a 12-year old before Henry. He’s plays a huge role to his family’s survival by overseeing a lot of financial decisions, but still goes to a regular school to expose himself to his own age group. The film starts off very family friendly. Jacob Trembley plays an adorable yet feisty little brother and you can tell that his character takes after his older brother while not being as smart. Naomi Watts plays their mother, Susan, as unconventionally as you’d think. While still a mom, she still acts like a kid while her actual kids are very independent. Most of this movie is exploring their family dynamic and it’s impressive. The chemistry oozes out of this main cast. The movie takes a darker turn when Henry notices his neighbor, Christina, played by Maddie Ziegler, seems to be having a rough time with her step father, played by Dean Norris. Henry concocts an insane plot of his own to save her from that abusive relationship.

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The story is straight forward, but there’s a couple twists and turns that had me almost falling out of my seat from anticipation. While the main crux of this film is the dynamic between the family, the story was much deeper than expected. There is some convenience and the third act has some issues, but the first two acts had me so invested in the family, I’m able to let it slide. The vision is very clear in the directing. There is a side story that isn’t explored in the trailer and had they gone with just that plot, this movie would’ve been ten times better. It’s admirable what Trevorrow tries to accomplish her. Certain plot points are very risky, but very welcomes.

As far as performances go, everyone brought their A+ game. Jacob Trembley gets his moments to shine in the latter half of the movie and reminded me how talented that kid is for his age. I’m not sure where these kid actors are coming from this year, but it’s the year of the kid actor with movies like “Logan”, “Split”, and even “Wonder Woman.” Naomi Watts delivers the powerful performance that she’s known for. While Henry is an omnipotent force in this movie, Watts quickly grabs the attention in any scene she’s in. For what it’s worth, Sarah Silverman was charming.

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It was awesome sitting down for a more grounded movie than what we’re used to recently. The characters have a wonderful comradery. A few bumps in the story don’t levitate from the great family drama surrounding a tired premise of child geniuses. I can say that I’m finally excited to see what Trevorrow will bring to the table for “Star Wars”, which isn’t something I could say after seeing Jurassic World.” “The Book of Henry”  is a wholly original film that will leave you with a personal question to answer and you may become a better person for it.

Final Word

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