Hal Does Have A Heart

Under all that wry cynicism, a Hartley film like Henry Fool is complex, touching, all too human

They make a strange menagerie, the Hal Hartley clan. The people in his odd, alert comedies (Trust, Amateur, Flirt) inhabit some Long Island of the mind, where Amy Fisher-style melodrama rubs up against working-class angst. They are part strong, silent types, part East Coast neurotics. They revel in their own contradictions; one Hartley heroine, a nymphomaniac virgin, explains the anomaly by saying, "I'm choosy." His creatures will sit mute and mopey, then turn endlessly articulate once they get going. Self-conscious but not self-aware, skeptical yet wildly romantic, they have a horror of the personal commitment to which they are also drawn....

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