Regarding Henry

"Weak"

Regarding Henry Review


Regarding Henry is a sappy three-hankie weeper masquerading as an updated and hip story about a yuppie struggling to find his inner child. That's not much of a choice for any movie to offer. Released in 1991 as a heartwarming, Hollywood tearjerker, writer Jeffrey Abrams and director Mike Nichols seem to have consciously removed the basic passions from that classic genre by recycling a load of sentimental plots, piling on the mushy scenes, and handing out a conventional TV-movie-of-the-week.

Henry (Harrison Ford) is a typical bad father and no-good husband. An overworked, big-shot lawyer idolized by his co-workers (he's the money guy), he's hated by his wife (Annette Bening) and teenage daughter (Mikki Allen). Why? Well, as far as I can tell, when his daughter spills orange juice he's real strict in punishing her, he never holds his wife's hand in public, and he won't buy his daughter a puppy. The movie doesn't much show or explain this side of Henry's personality, so I guess it's a given that he's an all-around, self-obsessed, insensitive jerk. As these plots go, Henry needs to get his priorities straight; he's due for a knockdown, a comeuppance.

How that happens is the way tearjerkers and melodramas involve us -- show us the twists and turns of that challenging new road these people have to go down and we'll go along eagerly. But Regarding Henry skips all that. Henry gets wounded in a convenience store hold-up, loses his memory, and has to start his life over -- walk, talk, relate to his family, lawyering, everything. He's a child again. It's a story device that allows Henry to change his old self without ever having to confront what he once was, and even a director as inventive as Mike Nichols can't pull this off. By the time Henry is in rehabilitation and participating in an array of cutesy shenanigans with his physical therapist (Bill Nunn), we're so distanced from the main character that only the lame predictability of the plot is left over. Henry buys his daughter a puppy. Then he holds his wife's hand as they walk through the park. He becomes a kinder, gentler lawyer. It all comes out of nowhere and you instinctively rebel against the manipulation.

I kept looking for some old, gritty, Bette Davis anxiety or a sense of honest self-evaluation in this movie. Or maybe some believable dealings with money or a funny take on disability insurance, or an iota of passion -- something, anything, that cuts through the sanctimony and allows you into the feelings of these characters. Jeffrey Abrams was 24 when he wrote Regarding Henry and went on to Felicity, the teenage television series. And that's what Regarding Henry is: television for adolescents. It may be camouflaged and dressed to the nines by the expensive adults Nichols, Harrison, and Bening, but it's still a shameless, juvenile melodrama.

Giuseppe Rotunno's cinematography (known for his work with Fellini) is the only standout in the DVD version of Regarding Henry. Take particular note of the rehabilitation scenes, where hospital whites and the glare of fluorescent lights convey more emotion and say more than the script. Also an advantage is the available widescreen format. Otherwise, the DVD is without extras, so there's little to recommend.



Regarding Henry

Facts and Figures

Run time: 108 mins

In Theaters: Wednesday 10th July 1991

Distributed by: Paramount Home Video

Production compaines: Paramount

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 2 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 44%
Fresh: 12 Rotten: 15

IMDB: 6.7 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Starring: as Henry Turner, as Sarah Turner, as Bradley, Michael Haley as Court Clerk (as R.M. Haley), Stanley Swerdlow as Mr. Matthews (as Stanley H. Swerdlow)

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Hampstead Movie Review

Hampstead Movie Review

Deliberately appealing to older audiences, this undemanding comedy-drama comes with a hint of social relevance...

The Book of Henry Movie Review

The Book of Henry Movie Review

Apparently, this offbeat script had been making the rounds in Hollywood for some 20 years...

Transformers: The Last Knight Movie Review

Transformers: The Last Knight Movie Review

With this fifth Transformers movie, it seems clear that Michael Bay is still trying to...

Churchill Movie Review

Churchill Movie Review

This drama about the iconic British prime minister tells a darkly personal story set over...

Gifted Movie Review

Gifted Movie Review

This is one of those films that dances right up to the edge of soapy...

Whitney: Can I Be Me Movie Review

Whitney: Can I Be Me Movie Review

Notorious British filmmaker Nick Broomfield teams up with Austrian music documentary producer Rudi Dolezal to...

The Mummy Movie Review

The Mummy Movie Review

To launch their new Dark Universe franchise, Universal has taken an approach that mixes murky...

Advertisement
My Cousin Rachel Movie Review

My Cousin Rachel Movie Review

Daphne du Maurier's 1951 mystery-romance novel has been adapted for theatre, radio, TV and film,...

Wilson Movie Review

Wilson Movie Review

It's never helpful when a comedy becomes a bit too smug about its own quirkiness....

Interlude in Prague Movie Review

Interlude in Prague Movie Review

A fictionalised story from the life of Wolfgang Mozart, this lavishly produced period drama is...

The Hippopotamus Movie Review

The Hippopotamus Movie Review

This British satirical comedy may be a bit of a mess, but since it's based...

Detour Movie Review

Detour Movie Review

This may look like a rather typical American indie thriller, but British filmmaker Christopher Smith...

Wonder Woman Movie Review

Wonder Woman Movie Review

Boldly optimistic, this action-packed adventure breathes fresh life into the DC universe with a welcome...

Baywatch Movie Review

Baywatch Movie Review

Clearly, it's a risky proposition adapting a cheesy vintage TV series for the big screen:...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.