Set in rural, Depression era Ontario, Henry and Verlin addresses the issue of difference through the often cliché-ridden vehicle of a friendship between a mentally disabled adult and a child. The adult is Henry (Gary Farmer), who is accepted in the community as “slow.” The child is his nine year-old nephew, Verlin (Keegan Mackintosh), who is severely autistic. The boy seems unreachable; his mother, Minnie (Nancy Beatty) despairs that he will not talk or respond to any of her well-intentioned encouragement and prodding.