Complete A-Z list

Book of Henry, The


Stars: Naomi Watts, Jaeden Lieberher, Jacob Tremblay, Dean Norris, Sarah Silverman, Lee Pace, Maddie Ziegler

Director: Colin Trevorrow

*There are unavoidable spoilers in this review.

This starts out well enough as a pleasant little film about a genius 11-year-old (Lieberher) who prefers to be a 'gifted' pupil at a normal school, where he can mix with ordinary kids.

He has a younger brother (Tremblay from Room) and a devoted divorcee mom Susan (Watts) and spends his spare time working on bizarre inventions in his tree house, and telling his mother off over her obsession with violent video games.

He has secretly piled up a small fortune for the family by dextrous manipulation of the stock market. But then he becomes obsessive about the girl next door (14-year-old Ziegler trying valiantly to look 11) who may - we never see them together - be getting abused by her stepfather Mr Sickleman (Norris), the local police commissioner, and the tone quickly darkens and the whole film becomes spectacularly less plausible.

Hospitalised with a brain tumour, Henry leaves his mom a book telling her how to buy a gun and bump off Mr Sickleman - instructions which she follows to the letter! Until...

Its scenario filled with more holes than a colander, the second half of the film is even nuttier than Susan herself, although Watts does at least get to sum the plot up when she exclaims 'This is ridiculous!'

David Quinlan

USA 2016. UK Distributor: Universal. Colour by Kodak.
105 minutes. Not widescreen. UK certificate: 12A.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 0, Swearing 1.

Review date: 18 Jun 2017