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Reviews for Colin Trevorrow’s The Book of Henry Are Concerning for Star Wars Fans


The blockbuster that led to Disney tapping Colin Trevorrow to direct Star Wars Episode IX—Jurassic World—was a box office success, but that doesn’t mean it was without its problems. Unfortunately, his newest film, The Book of Henry, has done more to exacerbate concerns than lay them to rest, as critics tear into what seems to be a complete mess of a movie.

The movie is about a genius child who bosses around his incompetent mother and eventually concocts a plan to save the literal girl next door from her abusive father. All that information was present in the trailer, and it already seemed like a bingo card of movie tropes (and the actual movie somehow contains even more), but that’s apparently just the beginning of the its problems.

That doesn’t mean Trevorrow can’t bounce back and give us something great with Episode IX, and Lucasfilm is sure to do everything possible to facilitate his success, but IX isn’t just any old movie. Fans have a 40-year love of the characters and storylines involved, and it’s understandably nerve-wracking to see the director who will handle their culmination stumble like this right before things get underway.

By now, you’re surely wondering in what way The Book of Henry is bad, so that you have an idea of what your concerns might be. Here’s what reviewers have had to say so far:

The Book of Henry offers a despicable child hero, a ludicrous plot, and a cast of characters carved with all the delicacy of a chainsaw on a butter sculpture.” –Pajiba

“Caught between capricious moments and grim genre tropes, it’s a ridiculous premise that’s never quite self-aware enough to obtain much depth or sustained entertainment value.” –IndieWire

“It is probably a job for a psychiatrist to figure out just why Hurwitz felt the need to construct a damsel-in-distress story that is conducted by proxy by an immature mother who is having all of her actions dictated by her young son.” –The Wrap

The Atlantic calls it a “warped nightmare of a movie.” Uproxx is particularly brutal, with almost too many of these observations to choose from: “It belongs to an entire genre of indie-ish dramedy dedicated to unconventional or ‘cute’ characters like precocious kids or rappin’ grannies telling upper middle class intellectuals what we already think. The character Henry is basically a misattributed inspirational Facebook quote come to life.”

Some critics had nice things to say, including praise for the actors even in some of the bad reviews, but the general consensus so far is not good (currently 24% on Rotten Tomatoes). Beyond that, it sounds as though the movie doesn’t just miss what it’s aiming for but doesn’t know what it’s aiming for, with a complete mishmash of genres and tones. That doesn’t exactly instill us with confidence in the handling of the culmination of the story that the Star Wars franchise is currently building and the characters we all know and love.

(image: Focus Features)

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Dan Van Winkle (he) is an editor and manager who has been working in digital media since 2013, first at now-defunct Geekosystem (RIP), and then at The Mary Sue starting in 2014, specializing in gaming, science, and technology. Outside of his professional experience, he has been active in video game modding and development as a hobby for many years. He lives in North Carolina with Lisa Brown (his wife) and Liz Lemon (their dog), both of whom are the best, and you will regret challenging him at Smash Bros.