Henry Poole Is Here is a film that Christian moviegoers will yearn to embrace, if only from sheer gratitude; here, at last, is a depiction of Christian faith that portrays it as something other than the domain of cranks and loonies. And it's not just theological theory that wins the film's blessing, but something more substantive, verging on shocking: it proposes that miracles can happen—and supplies an audacious one for our consideration.
That daring premise is set in a simple story. Henry Poole, a thoroughly dejected young man, has bought an empty house in a California suburb, and it's still mostly empty after he moves in, apart from the accumulating vodka bottles. On one side, he has a cheery neighbor, Esperanza, who keeps interfering with his goal of continual glumness. On the other, there's a mysterious, elfin 6-year-old girl, Millie, who doesn't speak but does tote a tape recorder, and her mom, Dawn, who bakes cookies and owns a variety of V-necked outfits.
So there are a number of neighborly distractions for Henry, some more appealing than others, but the most disruptive thing is happening in his own back yard. The slapdash stucco job done before Henry moved in has a discolored patch that shows through the paint. But maybe it's not just a random stain; maybe it's a face—the face of Christ. (We viewers never see the thing clearly enough to judge for ourselves.)
Esperanza certainly thinks so, and brings in her priest to look it over, who gives it cautious approval. If you've only seen George Lopez in comic roles, you'll be pleasantly surprised at his portrayal of Father Salazar; the pastor is intelligent, sincere, and hasn't a shred of burlesque (we should thank the filmmakers for that, too). Esperanza then ...1