Regarding Henry

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Regarding Henry is the lastest in a series of intelligent movies made by Mike Nichols, and starring Harrison Ford and Annette Benning. While we can all go and gawk at a movie like TERMINATOR 2, REGARDING HENRY is a well-acted, well-written, well-directed film that Hollywood just doesn't make enough of. It won't make mega-bucks, but I hope it will do very well.

Henry (Harrison Ford) is a hard-driven lawyer, who is in the wrong place at the wrong time and is shot in the head by a convenience store robber. He is severely brain-injured, is in a coma for a week, and is speechless for some time after his emergence from the coma. Sarah (Annette Benning) is stricken by his injury, but generally attempts to keep a brave face.

He's pulled out of his post-coma stupor by his therapists at a rehab hospital. Bradley (William Nunn) is a boisterous, cut-the-bullshit therapist who inspires Henry to speak by throwing Tabasco in his scrambled eggs, making him ask for something else. In time, Bradley pushes Henry to walk, and Henry's speech improves gradually over the course of the movie.

There's a major undercurrent in this theme about being tentative about life. Henry before the accident walked all over people and didn't have a tentative bone in his body. But, after the shooting, he's extremely tentative (except when he takes up painting!). Rachel (Mikki Allen), Henry and Rachel's 12-year-old daughter, is the cautious, tentative child of two rather driven, cold parents, and isn't sure how to approach her now radically-different father. Even Sarah, who very much had her own agenda before the shooting, is sometimes reluctant to make decisions afterward, even when Henry clearly can't.

Reviewers will probably emphasize Ford's fine performance in this picture, but I want to give special mention of Annette Benning. She's only been in a few movies so far, but she's made quite an appearance in each. In this movie, it would have been possible to play her as a complete bitch, which Nichols and Benning chose not to do. Sarah is a very complicated character, and you often don't know what she's thinking. So as she blossoms into a "kinder, gentler" Sarah in the last third of the movie, it's a very subtle transformation.

This is probably a 9 on the movie scale, the first 9 I've seen in a while!! Get out and see it. Be quietly dazzled by the finer things in films.