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Parker Posey looking seductively upwards from a chair.
Henry Fool


Henry Fool

MA 15+

In Praise of Parker Posey

25 Mar - 26 Mar

Self-styled literary genius and rogue, Henry Fool (Thomas Jay Ryan), moves into the basement of the Grim family home in Queens and proceeds to upend – with spectacularly far-reaching consequences – their unexceptional lives, igniting a latent literary spark in the listless, under-achieving Simon (James Urbaniak) while courting his bored, libidinous sister, Fay (Posey).

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  • “An honest man is always in trouble” is the ethos Henry Fool lives by and up to.  He impresses his fatalistic wisdom on the guileless Simon, who quits his dead-end job at Henry’s urging and ends up writing a poem ‘of lyrical beauty and ethical depth’ that becomes a cause celebre. The Board of Education denounces it as pornography, an edict from the Pope calls it ‘godless’ but cultural critic Camille Paglia defends it as the expression of ‘an authentic artistic voice’ and Simon Grim’s ascension to literary celebrity is sealed. The men fall out over a publishing deal Simon unsuccessfully tries to broker but Henry Fool isn’t done with the Grim family yet; he and Fay are in the family way and soon a son, Ned (Liam Aiken) is born.

    “The affectless precision of Hal Hartley’s previous work is no preparation for the brilliance and deep resonance of his Henry Fool…a perfect modern parable…a meditation on (among other things) art, trust, loyalty, politics and popular culture…Fay [is] played with deadpan, nonchalant wit by Parker Posey, in one of her best roles…Hartley’s screenplay (which won a prize at Cannes…) is as exacting as his visual style” The New York Times