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Henry Poole Is Here Print
Written by Mike Noel   
Thursday, 11 September 2008

Henry Poole Is Here

Henry Poole is a troubled man with a troubled past.  A broken and dysfunctional family left him to be an angry, sad, and frustrated man.  Then, when he receives news that he has a fatal illness he decides to check out.  He moves to a small suburban house somewhere in California and has just one request: leave me alone.  Yet that is just what his nosy neighbor will not do.  To make matters worse, a mysterious image of the face of Jesus appears in the poor stucco job on the side of his house.  Thus, the stage is set for a humorous but thought provoking exploration of the role of faith in a man's life.

People claim to have found images of Jesus nearly everywhere (Face of Jesus in baby ultrasound) yet most of us don't think that these are real.  And that's not the point of the movie.  It isn't trying to convince any viewer that the image is real.  The characters in the movie are left without doubt though.  After the image is first discovered it soon develops the incovenient habit of bleeding.  Samples are collected and tests run and it's determined to be real blood.  No matter how often it is washed off, it reappears.

This is just the first of a few incidents that compel Poole to accept the image.  Of course he doesn't want to.  He insists that it is only a "bad stucco job".  Yet the unexplained continues to happen.  

And then there is the love interest.  His other neighbor, not the nosy one, turns out to be a single mom whose young daughter refuses to talk.   She was traumatized by her father's departure and carries the emotional scars because of it.  Slowly Poole finds himself drawn into the mother's and the daughter's world.  He resists as much as he can but the relationship seems inevitable. 

The movie climaxes as Poole finally gets fed up with the hype surrounding the image and the pressure to believe in it becomes unbearable.  He takes a sledge hammer to the wall and destroys it.  Through his violent and physical reaction he finally seals his own healing.

This movie was very clever and thought provoking.  It emphasizes the conflict between faith and unbelief in the face of severe human tragedy.  Many Christians may be put off by the handling of the Jesus image.  But if they look at it for what it is, a symbol of faith, I believe they will see the story in a completely different light.


Last Updated ( Thursday, 11 September 2008 )

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