Henry &Amp; Verlin

Release Information
March 3, 1995
Toronto (Canada Square)
Library and Archives Canada - Canadian Feature Film Database (LAC)
Funding Sources
Act/Policy
Budget
Budget: $1,500,000
Distributors

Production Details

Executive Producer
John Board
Simon Board
John Board
Producer
David Cronenberg
David Cronenberg
David Cronenberg
David Cronenberg
David Cronenberg
David Cronenberg
Gary Ledbetter
John Board
John Board
John Board
Gary Ledbetter
John Board
John Board
John Board
Gary Ledbetter
Line Producer
John Board
John Board
John Board
John Board
John Board
John Board
John Board
John Board
Director
David Cronenberg
David Cronenberg
David Cronenberg
David Cronenberg
David Cronenberg
David Cronenberg
David Cronenberg
David Cronenberg
David Cronenberg
David Cronenberg
David Cronenberg
David Cronenberg
David Cronenberg
David Cronenberg
David Cronenberg
David Cronenberg
Gary Ledbetter
John Board
Gary Ledbetter
John Board
Gary Ledbetter
Director of Photography
David Cronenberg
David Cronenberg
Paul van der Linden
Paul van der Linden
Paul van der Linden
Paul van der Linden
Paul van der Linden
Paul van der Linden
Paul van der Linden
Paul van der Linden
Paul van der Linden
Paul van der Linden
Paul van der Linden
Paul van der Linden
Paul van der Linden
Paul van der Linden
Paul van der Linden
Paul van der Linden
Paul van der Linden
Paul van der Linden
Paul van der Linden
Paul van der Linden
Paul van der Linden
Paul van der Linden
Music
Mark Korven
Mark Korven
Mark Korven
Mark Korven
Mark Korven
Mark Korven
Mark Korven
Mark Korven
Mark Korven
Mark Korven
Mark Korven
Mark Korven
Mark Korven
Mark Korven
Mark Korven
Writer
David Cronenberg
David Cronenberg
David Cronenberg
David Cronenberg
David Cronenberg
David Cronenberg
David Cronenberg
David Cronenberg
David Cronenberg
David Cronenberg
David Cronenberg
David Cronenberg
David Cronenberg
Gary Ledbetter
Gary Ledbetter
Gary Ledbetter
Editor
David Cronenberg
David Cronenberg
Miume Jan
Miume Jan
Miume Jan
Miume Jan
Miume Jan
Miume Jan
Cast
Gary Farmer
Gary Farmer
Gary Farmer
Gary Farmer
Gary Farmer
Gary Farmer
Gary Farmer
Gary Farmer
Gary Farmer
Gary Farmer
Gary Farmer
Gary Farmer
Gary Farmer
Gary Farmer
Gary Farmer
Gary Farmer
Gary Farmer
Gary Farmer
Keegan Macintosh
Keegan Macintosh
Keegan Macintosh
Nancy Beatty
Nancy Beatty
Nancy Beatty
Nancy Beatty
Nancy Beatty
Nancy Beatty
Robert Joy
Robert Joy
Robert Joy
Robert Joy
Robert Joy
Robert Joy
Robert Joy
Robert Joy
Robert Joy
Robert Joy
Robert Joy
Robert Joy
Robert Joy
Robert Joy
Robert Joy
Robert Joy
Robert Joy
Joan Orenstein
Joan Orenstein
Joan Orenstein
Joan Orenstein
Joan Orenstein
Joan Orenstein
Eric Peterson
Eric Peterson
Eric Peterson
Eric Peterson
Eric Peterson
Eric Peterson
Eric Peterson
Eric Peterson
Eric Peterson
Eric Peterson
Eric Peterson
Eric Peterson
Eric Peterson
Eric Peterson
Margot Kidder
Margot Kidder
Margot Kidder
Margot Kidder
Margot Kidder
Margot Kidder
Margot Kidder
Margot Kidder
Margot Kidder
Margot Kidder
Margot Kidder
Margot Kidder
Margot Kidder
Margot Kidder
Margot Kidder
Margot Kidder
Margot Kidder
Margot Kidder
Margot Kidder
David Cronenberg
David Cronenberg
David Cronenberg
David Cronenberg
David Cronenberg
Wilfred Bray
Simon Board
89 minutes, 1993

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. It is only when Verlin is alone with Henry that he ventures out of his shell to enjoy life as a child. Henry shows him how to do stuff like rolling cigarettes and stealing chickens; he takes him places his mother would never let him go, like to the house of Mabel (Margot Kidder), a former prostitute. But mostly, Henry and Verlin run and jump and get wet and dirty. And they do these things without uttering a word.

The narrative swings between the two symbolic poles of confinement and freedom. Henry and Verlin embark on several escapes from the physical and emotional constraints of family and community, the most notable at the end of the film, where they escape from the local “institution” to frolic in a field of goldenrod. Henry, the eternal child, is the means to freedom for Verlin. The message of the film is both pragmatic and hopeful. Both Henry and Verlin are who they are; that is not going to change. But the rhythm of these escapes and incarcerations suggests that Verlin may be able to find ways to climb out of the mental prison of his condition, if only on occasion.

Writer-director, Gary Ledbetter, brings a sensitive treatment of disability and difference in this film. Strong performances by Farmer and Kidder, crisp photography, and an almost palpable chemistry between Mackintosh and Farmer help the film to avoid the sentimental pitfalls of melodrama that so often plague this genre.

Henry and Verlin was screened at the Toronto Film Festival in 1994 and was marketed to charity groups as a vehicle for fund-raising before being released to theatres in 1997.

Evelyn Ellerman

Contributed Notes