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The Book of Henry – The Dope Sheet Movie Review

Release Date:  June 16, 2017  
Rating:  PG-13  
Run Time:  1 hour 45 minutes  
After Credit Scene:  NO  
IMAX Viewing:  NO  
3D Viewing:  NO  
Reviewer:  Wayne Demers  
The Dope Sheet Score:  6.5 out of 10

A Non-Spoiler Review

Henry, a childhood genius, lives with his mother and younger brother.   Using the notebook Henry has written, together they try to save their neighbor from her abusive stepfather.

What works:    The acting is quite good as both Naomi Watts (Susan) and Jaeden Lieberher (Henry) give solid performances.  Sarah Silverman (Sheila) does a good job in a serious role as does veteran small screen actor Dean Norris (Glenn Sickleman).  This is a good story, not a great story, but a good story that will tug at your heart strings and repulse you with sensitive topics.  The film does an outstanding job during a few scenes of leaving your mind to fill in the blanks.  By doing so, the film guides the viewers imagination to determine the characters actions.  Very powerful.

What doesn’t work:  Young actress Maddie Ziegler needs a few more acting classes.  You may recognize her from the reality tv show, “Dance Moms.”  It wasn’t until her dance scene that I was able to put my finger on why she looked familiar.  Not a poor performance, but one that stood out that she needs some polishing.  Through the first half of the movie you get the feeling you are watching an after-school special, but as the plot develops the movie gets darker and more twisted.  It is at this point in the film it loses some of the audience because the story switches from a drama to a thriller.  Looking at the poster for the film, you may be misguided as to the type of film you are going to watch.  If you have watched the trailer for this movie, the story becomes a bit predictable.

Overall, I enjoyed the movie and the story, but this isn’t the movie you take your preteen to see on a rainy summer day.  Due to the sensitive/adult situations that the movie dives into, I don’t feel this movie is going to get its credit as a good story and may not last long at the box office.

On a scale of 1 to 10, 10 being the highest, I give The Book of Henry a 6.5.  It is worth a matinee ticket, but only if you have nothing to do on a rainy day.

Did you see the film?  Tell us your opinion below.

book henry poster

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Trailer Snark (June 16, 2017 Theatrical Trailers)

Welcome to Trailer Snark, a weekly column covering trailers for movies that will be released this week with thoughts from our roster of bloggers (Jessica from The Female Perspective, Ken from The Crank File, Jim from The Front Row View, Eric from View from Above, Robert from Cards and Counters, Rob from Spector for Hire, and Great Stories founder Chris).  Thanks for reading, and enjoy the previews!

Cars 3 (Disney) – Animation/Family
Rated G
Tag Line: It’s On!
Starring:  Owen Wilson, Cristela Alonzo, Larry the Cable Guy
Plot: Lightning McQueen sets out to prove to a new generation of racers that he’s still the best race car in the world.
Running Time: 109 minutes

Chris: Animation and fast cars?  The wife is already buying the tickets.  But my enthusiasm is a bit more tempered.  Animated sequels are historically disappointing.
Jessica: I simply do not understand why people love these so much, I think they’re pretty dull. Big pass for me.

Rough Night (Sony Pictures) – Comedy
R for crude sexual content, language throughout, drug use and brief bloody images
Tag Line: Dropping June 16
Starring: Scarlet Johansson, Kate McKinnon, Zoe Kravitz
Plot: Things go terribly wrong for a group of girlfriends who hire a male stripper for a bachelorette party in Miami.
Running Time: 101 minutes
Jessica: I usually love these types of movies and I adore McKinnon, but this one doesn’t make me laugh much. I’ll probably watch it one day for free at home, but not a movie theater film for me at all.
Chris: It would be one if I were forced to see this at my local theater.

All Eyez On Me (Lionsgate) – Biography/Drama/Music
Rated R for language and drug use throughout, violence, some nudity and sexuality
Tag Line: Legends never die.
Starring: Demetrius Shipp Jr, Danai Gurira, Kat Graham
Plot: Tells the true and untold story of prolific rapper, actor, poet and activist Tupac Shakur.
Running Time: 160 minutes

Chris: Was never a Tupac fan, but this one seems less about the music and more about the man.  Could be worth the rental?

47 Meters Down (Entertainment Studios) – Horror/Thriller
Rated PG-13 for sequences of intense peril, bloody images, and brief strong language
Tag Line: No help above, no hope below.
Starring: Mandy Moore, Claire Holt, Matthew Modine
Plot: Two sisters vacationing in Mexico are trapped in a shark cage at the bottom of the ocean. With less than an hour of oxygen left and great white sharks circling nearby, they must fight to survive.
Running Time: 89 minutes

Jessica: This looks like it could be fun, a rental though, again not wasting my money on it! I can always watch the classic shark films like Jaws or Deep Blue Sea!
Chris: Anyone who knows me knows that I loathe and fear sharks.  I guess that makes this one a good candidate for morbid curiosity and masochism.

The Book of Henry (Focus Features) – Drama/Thriller
Rated PG-13 for thematic elements and brief strong language
Tag Line: Never leave things undone.
Starring: Naomi Watts, Jaeden Lieberher
Plot: A single mother discovers a scheme in her son’s book to rescue a young girl from the hands of her abusive stepfather and sets out to execute the plan at any cost.
Running Time: 105 minutes

Chris: I’ve always enjoyed Naomi Watts and I am liking the dynamic between her and her son played by Jaeden Lieberher in the face of their neighbor’s abusive step-father.  How far will they go to protect a child?  I will be sure to find out!
Jessica: I’m intrigued so I’d watch this at home.

The Journey (IFC Films) – Drama
Rated PG-13 for thematic elements including violent images and language
Tag Line: None
Starring: Freddie Highmore, Tobey Stephens, John Hurt, Catherine McCormack
Plot: A fictional account of the extraordinary story of two implacable enemies in Northern Ireland – firebrand Democratic Unionist Party leader Ian Paisley and Sinn Fein politician Martin …
Running Time: 94 minutes

Chris: I grew up literally reading article after article in our Boston newspaper publications about Sinn Fein and the IRA.  Although this is a fictionalized account of two of the most prominent rivals in the Northern Ireland conflict, I am eager to see it.

Maudie (Sony Picture Classics) – Biography/Drama/Romance
Rated PG-13 for some thematic content and brief sexuality.
Tag Line: None
Starring: Ethan Hawke, Sally Hawkins
Plot: An arthritic Nova Scotia woman works as a housekeeper while she hones her skills as an artist and eventually becomes a beloved figure in the community.
Running Time: 115 minutes

Chris: I literally fell asleep watching this trailer.

Tickets Purchased:  One for The Book of Henry (Chris) while Jessica goes for another viewing of Wonder Woman.