“You see? They have to bludgeon a man into obscurity before they’ll acknowledge his genius.”
When I finished watching Hal Hartley’s 1997 movie Henry Fool, I thought, “Henry Fool is a movie that should be hard to like, because its characters are people that should be hard to like… Yet, for all of that, Henry Fool makes you care about all of them and wish for them to find some sort of happiness and fulfillment.” What I did not think was, jeez, I’d love to see these characters a decade later, mixed up in some spy thriller hijinks. I may not have known I wanted it, but Hartley gave it to me anyway, with Fay Grim.
Henry Fool ended with Simon Grim (James Urbaniak) giving the titular Henry (Thomas Jay Ryan) paperwork to use Simon’s identity to flee America. Now, almost a decade later, Simon is in jail for aiding and abetting Henry’s escape. While Simon’s sister, Fay (Parker Posey) is raising the teenaged son (Liam Aiken as Ned) fathered by Henry. Simon is still a world famous, award winning poet, even if he has to write from behind bars. While his editor, Angus (Check Montgomery) thinks they can cash in on Simon’s incarceration by finding and publishing Henry’s epic novel and self proclaimed masterpiece, something he called his Confessions. (more…)