I love a good family film that showcases a lot of love, heart, and courage. The Book of Henry is one of those movies, and it’s out in theaters this weekend! If you’re trying to decide if this movie is for you, or wondering what there is to gain from it, I’m going to share 5 things to learn from The Book of Henry! Let me first just say it’s pretty great.
The latest Colin Trevorrow movie is playing in select cities, and is the story of an extraordinary boy and his family:
Sometimes things are not always what they seem, especially in the small suburban town where the Carpenter family lives. Single suburban mother Susan Carpenter (Naomi Watts) works as a waitress at a diner, alongside feisty family friend Sheila (Sarah Silverman). Her younger son Peter (Jacob Tremblay) is a playful 8-year-old. Taking care of everyone and everything in his own unique way is Susan’s older son Henry (Jaeden Lieberher), age 11. Protector to his adoring younger brother and tireless supporter of his often self-doubting mother – and, through investments, of the family as a whole – Henry blazes through the days like a comet. Susan discovers that the family next door, which includes Henry’s kind classmate Christina (Maddie Ziegler), has a dangerous secret – and that Henry has devised a surprising plan to help. As his brainstormed rescue plan for Christina takes shape in thrilling ways, Susan finds herself at the center of it.
5 Things to Learn From The Book of Henry
1) We all need to look out for one another. I’ve often said that nobody knows what goes on behind other people’s closed doors. Henry is an 11 year old boy who is persistent and always looking out for others. He’s protective of his little brother, the next door neighbor, and does so much to take care of his mom. Henry truly goes above and beyond when it comes to caring for others, and it’s a good reminder for me to do this too.
2) Pay attention to your surroundings. Part of taking care of other people is to be observant and aware of changes in others’ lives. If we’re not paying attention to what’s going on around us, we may miss when someone truly needs us. Henry pays close attention to details and is able to pick up on changes in his neighbor friends’ demeanor. Then he plots to help Christina by noticing everything around him, and how he could use these things to his advantage.
3) It’s important to compromise and take turns in a family. It’s summer and the bickering among siblings can be over the top. Henry is an excellent example of compromising with his little brother. He let Peter help with his experiments, and then their mom made sure to alternate the bedtime routine. I am working on teaching my kids to problem solve on their own, and learn to negotiate and compromise.
4) Everyone needs a safe space and people they feel safe around. Over the past few years, I’ve learned this more than ever. When I went through my divorce I didn’t really have a safe space and people to turn to. I had my parents, but I truly needed more than that for what I was going through. I needed my friends to be there for me. I’m trying to be there for a friend going through a difficult time, and it’s so important! Henry doesn’t worry about himself and needing a safe space because he’s always worrying about everyone else. However, he creates a safe space for his mom, brother and neighbor/classmate. For Christina to have the family next door look out for her meant everything to her and her wellbeing. Not only should we surround ourselves with people we can trust, but we should also be that person for others.
Remember that our children are just children. My situation is a bit different than Susan’s, but the concept is the same. Henry is a genius so it’s easy for Susan to forget that her son is just a child. She trusted him implicitly, with finances, plots and just about everything. She had to come to the realization that Henry is just a child, and she needed to be the parent. For me, and most parents, we often expect so much of our children, and forget that they are still so little. I need to lighten up at times, and be more patient. My kids are still learning in a lot of ways, and can use a break at times.
Without giving any spoilers, I tried to share some of the key takeaway messages for me. Plus, here’s a clip on why moms love The Book of Henry! The Book of Henry is such a treat, and truly inspiring. I hope you can find it in a theater near you!
I was provided with free movie passes for the purpose of screening and writing about my thoughts on the movie. All thoughts expressed are my own.