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Henry Poole Is Here 

Slightly quirky, syrupy tale about the healing power of faith fails to win converts

The tetchy, moody Henry Poole (Luke Wilson) moves back to his old Los Angeles neighborhood to die in peace from a mysterious illness. He's irked when his effusive neighbor, Esperanza (Adriana Barraza), sees the face of Jesus in the water-stained stucco of his shabby home's exterior. She declares a miracle, and begins funneling the variously needy through his yard. Toss in a more comely neighbor -- a lonely single-mom neighbor (Radha Mitchell), with a weirdo, saucer-eyed kid -- a few indie-pop tunes and ponderous shots of heat-soaked L.A., and you can likely guess the outcome of this low-key, ever-so-slightly-quirky fable from Mark Pellington. Like the varied reactions to the reputed face of Jesus in a water stain, some patient and believing viewers may see a slow-moving, syrupy story that confirms the power of faith and Hallmark-movie endings. More worldly sorts will simply wait for something -- anything -- to happen in this maudlin exercise. (AH)

click to enlarge 34_henry_poole.jpg

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