How strong is your faith? I guess a better question might be what do you have faith in and how strong is your faith in that person, place or thing? Faith has been described as “the confident assurance that what we hope for is going to happen. It is the evidence of things we cannot yet see.” (Heb 11:1) Faith is powerful and reassuring but without it, all hope can be lost. In the new film, Henry Poole is Here, the subject of one man’s faith is called into account and we get an idea of what faith can do. I have to admit, it causes the mind to think and the heart to ponder, and that is never a bad outcome no matter the source.

Henry Poole (Luke Wilson) is a man who simply wants to be separated from society. He has given up all hope and just wants to be left alone. He no longer has a drive or a determination to do anything. He has quite simply stopped living. When he buys a house in a remote part of LA to live out the rest of his days he finds that not everyone is so keen on leaving him alone. When a nosy, well meaning neighbor (Adriana Barraza) is convinced that an image of the face of Jesus is on the side of his house, he can give up any idea of peace and quiet. But what he soon discovers is that people all have a different perspective on faith, and that faith is best utilized when helping one another.

At first glance this may seem like a religious piece to promote, or at times make fun of, those with spiritual beliefs. And granted it is rooted in the realm of spirituality; the basis of a faith in Christ and the importance of that to the hope of life for Christians of any denomination. But I felt writer Albert Torres simply uses that to allow a reason for his characters to have a discussion of faith and spirituality. He mixes humor and hope into this world he has created for Henry. Like Henry, we the viewer have an opportunity to watch average people from different backgrounds and thought processes interact and engage the power of faith and how it can change lives. There is no explanation for it and Torres does not try to answer the questions or tie it up with a neat bow. He just allows his characters to tell a story and then for us to apply it to our own idea of faith. And it worked as far as I am concerned.

What I enjoyed most about this film is the pace it took. Some may find it laborious and uneventful but I loved the ease it took to tell its tale. Like life sometimes, we have to wait for the events to unfold and reveal the next page. As Henry meets his neighbors and begins to interact with the single mother next door (Radha Mitchell) and the cashier (Rachel Seiferth) in the check out lane, we get to see how his attitudes affect those around him and how they in turn get him to respond. The soundtrack as well is a powerful force in this film and the music is very moving.

Henry Poole is Here is rated PG for thematic elements and some language. I thought it was a wonderful story and well acted by both Wilson, who carries the film, and the ensemble of relative new comers. It is filled with laughter and humor as well as thought stirring ideas on faith regardless of your spiritual beliefs. Sure it isn’t the most powerful film ever made but sometimes the most profound ideas are discovered in the simplistic of places. If you want a film outside the norm and a recess from the average class of film, I encourage you to give this a shot. You might find it is just what you needed.

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