Follow TV Tropes


Film / Henry

Go To

Henry is a 2011 short film (20 minutes) from Canada directed by Yan England.

An old man named Henry is playing piano in his home. He gets up and calls out to his wife Maria that he's getting something to eat. Cut to Henry sitting in an outdoor cafe, where a middle-aged woman chats pleasantly with him for a bit. This is interrupted by Henry noticing a mysterious old man, who tells him that "they" are out to get him and he needs to find his wife. Suddenly Henry is trapped in a reality-warping nightmare where people and places change unexpectedly and nothing is what it seems.

Compare The Father, a feature-length film with a similar narrative conceit.



  • Bizarrchitecture: A symptom of Henry's dementia has him going from place to place in odd ways. He runs out of what looks to be an old folks' home, opens a door, and finds himself in a mansion with ornate wood paneling and a chandelier—this turns out to be World War II-era Italy. Bombs fall, Henry escapes, and finds himself back in the hospital, except now it's a maternity ward and his daughter is being born.
  • Calling Parents by Their Name: The film cheats a little by having Nathalie address Henry as "Henry" several times, before the ending where he finally recognizes her and she then calls him "Papa". Presumably she calls him that precisely because he's forgotten her.
  • The Faceless
    • Henry and Maria's daughter Nathalie is shown at a piano recital, from a distance and out of focus, and then from behind. This is to avoid revealing that Nathalie is the mystery woman from the cafe who later showed up in Henry's bedroom, although it isn't hard to guess.
    • Advertisement:
    • The mystery man at the cafe who tells Henry that "they" are looking for him is also shot so as to not reveal his face, and unlike Nathalie his is never revealed. It may be that the mystery man, who seems like he's old, is also Henry.
  • Impairment Shot: Henry has raced back to his house when two people grab him and a third injects him with sedative. His vision blurs and fades out, then fades back in as he regains consciousness, now in the hospital ward.
  • Moment of Lucidity: Henry briefly recognizes Nathalie and compliments her on her long-ago piano recital. Just as quickly though, he forgets and asks, "Do I know you?". Nathalie begs him to stay with her and not go away, but it's no good.
  • Off-into-the-Distance Ending: Ends with Nathalie and Henry, the latter in his wheel chair, going down a hospital corridor as they leave for a walk.
  • Pensieve Flashback: Henry's memories as he struggles to differentiate the present from the past are presented as this, with Henry walking around in his memories and watching them. He watches himself as a young man meeting Maria in 1943 Italy, then watches himself and Maria attending their daughter's piano rehearsal, then watches himself and Maria playing a duet on piano and violin the day before she died. In that last memory he's accompanied by his younger self much as Scrooge was accompanied by ghosts in A Christmas Carol.
  • Scatterbrained Senior: Henry, deep in the depths of dementia. He tells the mystery woman that his daughter Nathalie just played a piano recital, only for the woman to tell him that it was ages ago. He says that he has to get home to Maria, and the mystery woman tells him that he lives in the care facility and no longer has a home. At this Henry gets agitated and runs out.
  • Time-Shifted Actor: Younger actors play Henry and Maria in the flashback sequences (their first meeting in Italy, the birth of their daughter).
  • Through the Eyes of Madness: People and places continually change on an old man who gets more confused and agitated. It soon becomes clear that the film takes place from the perspective of Henry's dementia.