Gifted eleven year old, Henry Carpenter (Jaeden Lieberher), spends his time taking care of those around him. Whether that's little brother Peter (Jacob Tremblay) or computer game loving mother Susan (Naomi Watts). When Henry learns of the dark secret being harbored next door by Christina (Maddie Ziegler) and her stepfather Glenn (Dean Norris), he concocts a plan to save her. However an unforeseen turn of events means it falls to Susan to carry it out.
hat do you do when you've rebooted the Jurassic Park franchise to the tune of $1.6bn worldwide and are waiting around to direct the ninth episode of one of the biggest movie sagas of all time? Head back to your indie roots of course.
efore calling the shots on mega blockbusters, Colin Treverrow made a name for himself with his feature film debut, Safety Not Guaranteed. Based on a mysterious, real life newspaper advert, the comedy starred Aubrey Plaza, Jake Johnson and Mark Duplass, and was a big hit at Sundance in 2012. The head honchos at Universal were so impressed that they felt confident enough to give him the task of rebooting their biggest franchise.
erhaps then it was the success of Jurassic World coupled with landing the most coveted directing job in Hollywood with Star Wars Episode IX that made Treverrow believe that he could pull off The Book of Henry, a story so convoluted we're not sure even the titular Henry could have figured it all out.
enry, played by Midnight Special's Jaeden Lieberher is a gifted (though he prefers the term 'precocious') youngster that spends his time looking after immature mom, Susan (Naomi Watts) and vulnerable litter brother Peter (Jacob Tremblay) both financially and emotionally. When Henry learns that his classmate and girl next door, Christina is being abused by her police commissioner stepfather Glenn (Breaking Bad's Dean Norris) and his pleas to the authorities fall on deaf ears, he constructs a plan of his own to take Glenn out of the picture. However an unforeseen turn of events means that it falls to Christina to carry out the final stages of Henry's plan.
o reveal any more about the plot will lead us perilously close to spoiler territory so we'll leave you with this. In order to enjoy The Book of Henry, there are several seriously implausible and coincidental elements that you need to ignore ranging from the innocent (an eleven year old using a payphone in 2017?) to the extreme (not only is Glenn the Police Commissioner but his brother is the head of child services making it near impossible for Henry and Susan to report him to the authorities). And even then, outrageously incompetent parenting on display from Watts' Susan has to be contended with.
f you've a low threshold for hammy plot contrivances and characters making remarkably stupid decisions then it's best to avoid The Book of Henry.