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Movie Mom

Movie Mom

Unexpectedly Spiritual Films: ‘Hamlet 2′ and ‘Henry Poole is Here’

posted by Nell Minow

August is usually the time of the movie year for silly gross-out comedies, cheaply-made slasher films, and studio inventory they never found the right time to release. And Hollywood is usually very uncomfortable dealing with spiritual themes or religion as anything other than a sham. That makes two of this year’s August releases especially refreshing.

“Henry Poole is Here” is the story of a man who thinks there is nothing left for him. He finds that what he sees as a bad stucco job appears to his neighbor (whose name is Esperanza, which means “hope”) and to the check-out girl at the grocery story (whose name is Patience) like the face of Jesus. And then what looks like a drop of blood appears on the wall. The movie is surprisingly respectful of faith — and doubt — and the clergyman, played by George Lopez, is a thoughtful and compassionate man. The story is a bit reminiscent of the underseen Tortilla Heaven.

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And then there’s last year’s Sundance hit, “Hamlet 2.” It is very raunchy and profane. In part, the plot deals with an outrageous high school production of an original play that has Hamlet going back in time to prevent tragedy. Yes, there is a musical number called “Rock Me Sexy Jesus.” Unquestionably, it will offend some in the audience. But in the film, the believers who come to the play to protest end up applauding because, the Jesus character is the one who inspires everyone else to be better and more forgiving. I found it unexpectedly sweet, sincere, and even reverent.

  • jestrfyl

    We have a copy of Jesus Christ Vampire Hunter, and a couple of other blasphemous and nearly blasphemous videos. So I am looking forward to Hamlet 2. As a tried and true skeptic of miraculous sightings (and Florida in infamous for them), I am intrigued by “Henry Poole…”.
    Thanks for the heads-up and low-down on these.

  • Alicia

    The previews for “Hamlet 2″ look really good, and I think Steve Coogan looks like Eric Idle.
    I trust your judgement on movies, Nell. And not just family movies.
    Thanks.

  • michele

    Henry Poole was a great film the first time around and I encourage you to check out the recently released family edition. I absolutely loved this movie! It was such a great story about a real life guy who was struggling with his faith and accepting it. This is something that I’ve been struggling with myself for the past couple of years. It was such an encouragement to see this played out. And it’s really cool that I’ve found a site, http://www.henrypoolebelieves.com. Right now it looks like they are giving away 10 copies of the movie for free. If you haven’t seen the movie yet, or even if you have, you could always give it to a friend, but it’s definitely worth checking out!

  • http://blog.beliefnet.com/moviemom/ Nell Minow

    Thanks, Michele! Very glad to hear there is a family-friendly version as this is a lovely little film. I will add a special post about it. I really appreciate your bringing it to my attention.

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