So… I can’t be the first person to immediately think of SUCKER PUNCH when “Everything you need is right here.” came up in the dialogue, right?
Yeah, this looks… interesting?
Colin Trevorrow is an unusual case (or at least seems to be) – seemingly imbued with the same fawning reverence for Amblin-era Spielbergism but with a seemingly grimmer edge that doesn’t quite line up (see: Jurassic World, which is absolutely Tonal Whiplash: The Movie however much I enjoy the overall product).
The premise of THE BOOK OF HENRY feels truly strange in that distinct “trying to show you as much of the movie as possible while obviously withholding a major plot surprise” way that’s increasingly common with any remotely offbeat narrative film. The basic setup seems strange enough: Henry is a super-genius 11 year-old who’s effectively in charge of his family because his doting Mom (Naomi Watts) is… not smart? Slow? “Impaired” in some way – it’s kind of weirdly unclear. In any case, Henry comes to suspect that his new neighbor friend is being abused by her boorish policeman stepdad, and seemingly deals with this by conceiving an elaborate Home Alone/Sandlot/Data-from-Goonies DIY scheme to straight-up assassinate him.
Oddly, the trailer insists on showing us that instead of Henry carrying out this plan himself, it’s Mom (and also a younger brother?) doing the deed by following meticulously laid-out instructions from Henry’s titular “book” of the title. I don’t know how else we’re meant to interpret that kind of framing other than “Henry dies or is in some other way neutralized sometime before Act 3, forcing Mom to finally grow up and fix things herself” (so, “PAY IT FORWARD: WITH A VENGEANCE”) but if so it feels odd for a trailer to make that so easy to suss out – was the idea of Naomi Watts setting up a Rube Goldberg sniper-rig considered so saleable it just had to be in the marketing?
Then again, going by internet feedback it seems a lot of people are guessing “Henry doesn’t actually exist” as the actual plotline, so who knows? This was Trevorrow’s “one for me” passion project before he dug in on STAR WARS – EPISODE IX, and Focus Features apparently feels good enough about it to drop it on June 16 as counterprogramming against CARS 3, ALL EYEZ ON ME and ROUGH NIGHT (formerly “ROCK THAT BODY,” the Scarlet Johansson/Kate McKinnon/Ilana Glazer gender-swap remake of VERY BAD THINGS) so I guess we’ll find out…