Ideas on, and a spot to debate, the plot factors we will’t reveal in our review.
It’s uncertain that anybody going into The E book Of Henry expects the film to execute a Psycho-style rug-pull—that’s, to kill off its title character and obvious protagonist within the first 30 or so minutes. However no, whiz child Henry abruptly succumbs to an undiagnosed mind tumor, leaving his mother, Susan, to find the notebooks and cassette tapes that element the crimes of Mr. Sickleman, their next-door neighbor, in addition to Henry’s makes an attempt to have them investigated and his plan to kill the person by taking pictures him with a sniper rifle from the tree fort. There’s plenty of potential to this twist—like say, the response that an actual human dad or mum might need to discovering that the 11-year-old whose loss of life they’re nonetheless grieving was plotting to homicide somebody—however The E book Of Henry handles the switch of standpoint so blithely that his loss of life finally ends up having no bearing on the plot. The reams of written and tape-recorded directions left behind by this boy choose, jury, and would-be executioner cutely anticipate Susan’s each transfer. (“Flip proper… no, your different proper.”)
Why does she attempt to undergo with it? Is it the alienated numbness of grief? Or a darkish subversion of that want to carry on to any tangible hyperlink to these we lose, no matter how preposterous? Who is aware of, as a result of regardless of one of the best efforts of Naomi Watts, Susan’s psychology stays out of focus. The film’s illness is excessive narrative over-determination: Not solely is Henry’s loss of life in the end irrelevant, however so is Susan’s last-second choice to confront Sickleman (in a scene that bears solely hint similarities to human habits) as a substitute of taking pictures him within the head, as he finally ends up doing the deed himself. Suicide, the PG-13 model of a Disney villain loss of life. Had Henry lived, executed the work of forging Sickleman’s will himself, and accomplished the deed, nearly every little thing can be the identical. However then, that may have really taken some cojones.