A meteor strike hits the small town of Troy in the state of New York. People are reported missing. Two women, both named Helen, are affected in strange ways by this incident.
It's always a challenge to sit down and review a movie that is hard to understand and which speaks mostly in a visual language. These are movies that are made to be experienced and not told (I mean, which movie isn't? But you catch my drift). I will do my best to translate my feelings for "H." onto the review, but odds are that you will have to watch it to completely get what I am grasping at.
"H." is a personal journey of two couples during the time of a meteor strike in a small town in the state of New York. The older couple, Helen and Roy, are in a strange place in their relationship, as Helen is obsessed with her reborn baby doll - acting as if it is a real baby, and going to meetings where they talk about their "babies" and show them around. Roy needs to get away for a while, so he leaves with a friend for a fishing trip. When the meteor hits, Roy is away from Helen. Afterwards, he becomes one of many missing people in town. The younger couple, Helen (they share the name) and Alex, are expecting a child, but when the incident occurs they realize that something might be wrong.
Despite a very full plot, the main storytelling device is its visuals, audio and style. It leaves out a lot of details to pique our interests and keep us engaged, which can bite itself in the ass if the wrong viewer is watching. Personally I am all for it if there's a lot to show. Though "H." is quite a pretentious film in several ways, it is a movie that I found very easy to get into. There are movies where pretentiousness is part of the whole idea and I think this is one of those cases. It's hard to not get pretentious when you deal with loss, love, existentialism and what have you in a mostly visual way.
Personally I think Rania Attieh and Daniel Garcia's movie is great. It's a movie that keeps you on edge with its imagery and sound design. The story is intriguing and the characters are either quirky enough to be enjoyable (the older Helen), or you genuinely feel for them (the younger couple). The surrealism rarely feels forced, as it's often the quiet, simpler moments I thought came off as pretentious. There's a connecting to mythology through-out that was somewhat lost on me as it's not an interest of mine, but I think the movie stands well even if you're like me.
"H." has the sensibilities of an apocalypse drama, which often comes with the many thoughts questioning life and humanity. Add to that the whole baby thing which is a big part of both couple's lives, in one way or another. It might sound like "H." is a heavy film to take on, but it's equally kooky so there should be no problem watching this at the wrong time. You'll get a little bit of everything, unlike say Béla Tarr's work, which require a certain moodset.
I'd recommend "H." to any of our readers, minus those who are 100% gorehounds. This is a quiet, slow drama/thriller, that mixes surreal imagery and some strange comedy to lighten the mood. For the majority of people this should be an easy movie to get into. That said, "H." is not a groundbreaking masterpiece, but I had a good time with it. It kept me focused through the entire thing and I was curious to find out what was going on.