Henry Fool

Synopsis: Socially inept garbage man Simon is befriended by Henry Fool, a witty roguish, but talentless novelist. Henry opens a magical world of literature to Simon who turns his hand to writing the 'great American poem'. As Simon begins his controversial ascent to the dizzying heights of Nobel Prize winning poet, Henry sinks to a life of drinking in low-life bars. The two friends fall out and lose touch until Henry's criminal past catches up with him and he needs Simon's help to flee the country.
Genre: Comedy, Drama
Director(s): Hal Hartley
Production: Sony Pictures Classics
  1 win & 1 nomination.
Rotten Tomatoes:
137 min

You want some?

I'm gonna kill you!

Where the hell have you been?

-Mom, come on and eat!

-I'm not hungry.

-Then why did I cook?

-I don't know why you cooked.

I don't know why you bother.

Eat, Simon.

God! I want to get fucked.

You okay?

See ya.

Get up off your knees.

Where do you have to go to get

a six-pack of beer around here?

-Say something.

-She's mute.


Kiss my ass.



Centuries ago,

it had an 'e' at the end.

-Where do you come from?

-Nowhere in particular.

I go where I will

and I do what I can.

That's why I'm in trouble.

I'm sort of

what you might call...

an exil.

Why are you in trouble?

An honest man

is always in trouble, Simon.

Remember that.

How do you know my name?

I am not retarded.

Yeah, well.

I'll take your word for that.


I mean...

they think...

you know...


I see.


Take this.



Keep them with you

at all times...

if you feel you've got something

to say and you can't get it out.

You stop

and write it down, okay?

What are these?

My life's work.

My memoirs.

My confession.

What have you done?

I've been bad.


But why brag?

The details of my exploits

are only a pretext for a...

far more expansive

consideration of general truths.

What is this?

It's a philosophy.

A poetics.

A politics, if you will.

A literature of protest.

A novel of ideas.

A pornographic magazine of

truly comic-book proportions.

It is in the end whatever

the hell I want it to be.

And when I'm through with it

it's gonna blow a hole this wide...

straight through

the world's idea of itself.

They're throwing

bottles at your house.

Come on,

let's go break their arms.


I don't want trouble.

Once, I forget where I was,

Central America, maybe...

somewhere hot.

Stupid job, bad pay.

Dangerous location, the water was

so foul they wouldn't piss on it.

A crowd of drunken motherfuckers,

hired by the local drug cartel...

shows up at my hotel room and

threatens to tear me limb from limb.

And I say:

"Listen, 'hombres'...

You got me outnumbered 4 to 1.

You're gonna kill me here tonight...

and not a soul in this dimly-lit

world is gonna notice that I'm gone.

But one of you...

one of you is gonna have

his eye torn out."



I repeat myself.

"One of you jerks, is gonna have

his eye ripped out of its socket.

I promise. It's a small thing,

perhaps, all things considered.

But I will succeed.

Because it's the only thing

I have left to do in this world.

So, just take a good look

at one another one last time...

and think it over

a few minutes more."

And then, what happened?


here I am...


after all.

Did you throw up

all over some girl?

They were throwing bottles

at the house, you know.

She's got some ex-con

in it she met at the bar.

Tattoos all over himself

and big, red, bloated nose.

Did you take your pills?

You want me

to tell her to be quiet?

What's the use? She might

as well get it while she can.

She's not always gonna have the ass

she has now, you know? That's life.

Good morning, Simon.

A glorious day, huh?

Here, have a doughnut.

Can you lend me US$ 2O?


Where's the library

in this scrappy little burg?

Down the highway about

a mile and a half, then make a left.

Excellent. I'm polishing up the

final chapters of my confession...

and I need a

reasonably well-stocked...

reference section.

I thought...

I was...

I wanted to...


Can I take this?

I'll correct the spell.

-Simon, who did this to you?

-I was gonna tear out their eyes.

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Hal Hartley

Hal Hartley (born November 3, 1959) is an American film director, screenwriter, producer and composer who became a key figure in the American independent film movement of the 1980s and '90s. He is best known for his films Trust, Amateur and Henry Fool, which are notable for deadpan humour and offbeat characters quoting philosophical dialogue.His films provided a career launch for a number of actors, including Adrienne Shelly, Edie Falco, Martin Donovan, Karen Sillas and Elina Löwensohn. Hartley frequently scores his own films using his pseudonym Ned Rifle, and his soundtracks regularly feature music by indie rock acts Yo La Tengo and PJ Harvey. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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    "Henry Fool" Scripts.com. STANDS4 LLC, 2020. Web. 23 Oct. 2020. <https://www.scripts.com/script/henry_fool_9868>.

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