Picks and Pans Review: Henry Fool

updated 07/06/1998 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 07/06/1998 AT 01:00 AM EDT

Thomas Jay Ryan, James Urbaniak, Parker Posey

The new tenant, an unpublished author, urges his garbageman-landlord in Queens, N.Y., to express his feelings and hands over a blank notebook. The garbageman stays up all night writing an epic poem. He is, it turns out, a natural. The tenant (Ryan, making a spectacular film debut) takes the socially inept garbageman (Urbaniak, in a sly performance) under his wing, but soon the pupil surpasses the teacher. That's the basic plot to this latest film from writer-director Hal Hartley (Simple Men), but it's also about art, commerce and carrying on amid severest woe. Henry Fool, winner of a screenplay prize at Cannes, is the talented Hartley's most mature and appealing work yet. (R)

Bottom Line: A comic satire that brilliantly captures a poet in motion

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