Monsieur Henri Pick never says a word but his name will set his local village and before long, the whole country into a tailspin. All thanks to his unknown side hustle as an aspiring novelist, or was he? Who is Henri Pick, and how did a supposedly illiterate pizza cook write an acclaimed bestseller, is the very refreshing story behind The Mystery of Henri Pick.
Based on David Foenkinos’s 2016 book of the same name, The Mystery of Henri Pick revolves around the film’s enigmatic title character who, two years after his death, has his name sprawled across the covers of a celebrated novel, ‘The Last Hours of a Love Story’.
However, not everyone is convinced of the author’s authenticity of this overnight sensation. And why was the unpublished novel tucked away in an unknown library of rejected manuscripts, only to be discovered by chance during an unscheduled visit by up-and-coming editor, Daphne Despero (played by Alice Isaaz)? Is it all a publicity stunt?
Combined, the circumstances seem a little unreal to a cynic, and there is none more ready to denounce the story, than influential literary critic, Jean-Michel Rouche (played by Fabrice Luchini). Henri Pick’s widow, Madelaine (played by Josiane Stoléru) is invited onto Rouche’s chat show to discuss the success of the book. Through innuendo and finally outright insults, Rouche paints Madelaine as an uncaring wife and/or a player in the hoax. No longer able to bear the harassment, Madelaine makes her exit mid interview, off the podium and into the waiting arms of her daughter Josephine (played by Camille Cottin, Killing Eve). It comes as no surprise that Rouche is soon after given his own marching orders from the show.
Rouche is like a dog with a bone. Arriving at Josephine’s house a short while after, Rouche is keen to discover any clues as to her father’s literary genius – letters, postcards – or lack of. Loathe to even be in the same room as him, Josephine cannot bring herself to help, but relents, if only to clear her father’s name. She is swept up by Rouche’s investigation, which will conjure up unspoken questions and doubts of her own.
The perfect film for lovers of literature and intrigue alike, The Mystery of Henri Pick has twists and turns that would make Agatha Christie blush, and wears its love of literature on its sleeve. With many references to literary giants – from Alexander Pushkin to Marguerite Duras, this film is a well-crafted puzzle that will captivate and excite.
The Mystery of Henri Pick opens nationally Thursday 29 October at these participating cinemas – The Elizabeth Picture Theatre, New Farm Cinemas, Palace James St, The Regal Twin Graceville. Check your local guides for screening times.
About The Mystery of Henri Pick
Running time: 101 minutes
Language: French with English Subtitles
Directed by: Rémi Bezançon
Stars: Fabrice Luchini, Camille Cottin, Alice Isaaz, Bastien Bouillon, Josiane Stoléru