Fay Grim

Critics Consensus

Fay Grim is too concerned with its own farcical premise to present a coherent, involving story.

46%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 90

57%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 22,794
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Movie Info

A single mother from Queens becomes unwittingly embroiled in international espionage in director Hal Hartley's sequel to the critically acclaimed Henry Fool. Fay Grim (Parker Posey) is determined to raise her 14-year-old son, Ned (Liam Aiken), so he won't be like his father, Henry (Thomas Jay Ryan), who disappeared seven years ago after accidentally murdering a vicious neighbor. As Fay's brother, Simon (James Urbaniak), serves time in a prison cell for aiding Henry in his daring escape, he gradually begins to suspect that the man who inspired him to take up writing in the first place is not the louse he appeared to be, but instead the keeper of some potentially explosive government secrets that, if made public, could prove quite dangerous. As Simon begins to explore the possibility that Henry's autobiography, "Confessions," contains coded references to a wide variety of international atrocities committed by governments around the world, the CIA contacts Fay to inform her that her husband was killed in a hotel fire in Sweden shortly after fleeing America, and that the French government is currently in possession of two notebooks containing drafts of "Confessions." Convinced that the notebooks contain information that could endanger the security of the United States, CIA agent Fulbright (Jeff Goldblum) convinces Fay to travel to Paris and retrieve Henry's property before the information falls into the wrong hands. Now trapped in the middle of a cross-continental con and thrust deep into the world of international espionage, Fay is about to find out that her ex-husband is not only still alive, but in more trouble than he could ever imagine. ~ Jason Buchanan, Rovi

Cast

Parker Posey
as Fay Grim
Jeff Goldblum
as Agent Fulbright
James Urbaniak
as Simon Grim
D.J. Mendel
as Father Lang
Megan Gay
as Principal
Chuck Montgomery
as Angus James
John Keogh
as Prosecutor
Leo Fitzpatrick
as Carl Fogg
J.E. Heys
as Herzog
Aminata Seck
as Woman Visitor at Prison
David Scheller
as Convict Husband
Miho Nikaido
as Gnoc Deng
Peter Benedict
as Raul Picard
Tim Seyfi
as Rabbi Todorov
Hubert Mulzer
as Minister of Security
Mehdi Nebbou
as Islamic Cleric
Suzan Anbeh
as Concierge Paris Hotel
Robert Seeliger
as Agent Hogan
Thomas Jay Ryan
as Henry Fool
Olga Kolb
as Stewardess
Jef Bayonne
as French Drug Dealer
Mohamed Makhtoumi
as Beaten Man in Paris
René Ifrah
as Technician in CIA Van
Sibel Kekilli
as Concierge First Istanbul Hotel
Erdal Yildiz
as Concierge Second Istanbul Hotel
Marko Lakobrija
as Jallal's Bodyguard
Karim Cherif
as Istanbul Cop in Office
Ercan Özcelik
as Istanbul Detective
Yevgeni Sitokhin
as Russian Spy
Mark Zak
as Saudi Spy
Ian T. Dickinson
as British Spy
Korhan Onur
as Istanbul Cop in Streeet
View All

News & Interviews for Fay Grim

Critic Reviews for Fay Grim

All Critics (90) | Top Critics (32) | Fresh (41) | Rotten (49)

  • Fay's intercontinental quest for the missing, maybe dead Henry is also a search for his now fragmented writings, whose meaning is both constantly evolving and forever evaporating.

    Feb 19, 2018 | Full Review…
  • Movie sequels rarely work as well as literary serials, but the Henry and Fay movies have the ring of a satisfying trilogy in the making.

    May 25, 2007 | Rating: 3.5/4 | Full Review…
  • The involved backstory and Hartley's own generic music both prove burdensome; the main attraction is the cast's amusing way of handling Hartley's mannerist dialogue and conceits.

    May 25, 2007 | Full Review…
  • There's a thin line between goofing irreverently on the maddeningly convoluted nature of spy thrillers and actually being a muddled mess, and Fay Grim crosses it constantly during its deadly second hour.

    May 19, 2007 | Rating: C+ | Full Review…

    Nathan Rabin

    AV Club
    Top Critic
  • Recycling espionage-a-go-go conventions while namechecking global conflicts doesn't shed light on any state we're in; it just feels fatigued.

    May 19, 2007 | Rating: 2/6 | Full Review…

    David Fear

    Time Out
    Top Critic
  • Despite its imperfections, Fay Grim is worth seeing for Posey's and Goldblum's performances and particularly for the witty, literate dialogue.

    May 18, 2007 | Rating: 2.5/4

    Claudia Puig

    USA Today
    Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Fay Grim

  • Nov 18, 2013
    OH MY GOD INTERNATIONAL ESPIONAGE! *Takes a deep breath*. I thank God because He made me objective and analytical in my film appreciation. Let's.... dissect this mutant of a film. Hartley is courageous. When there is a very risky project at hand, if you take it, you either win a lot or lose a lot. There are hardly gray areas in those cases. What Hartley wanted to achieve was a twist so unexpected that even close followers or Henry Fool fans would be surprised in the same way that Miike fans were not ready for something like <i>Visitor Q</i> or <i>Happiness of the Katakuris</i>. What if most of, if not everything that Henry Fool claimed to have done in the past movie turned out to be true? This plot unfolds. Watching <i>Fay Grim</i> is like witnessing an imaginary, fictional "what-if" alternate reality in which the characters that were so much profoundly dissected and analyzed from their most hidden and rotten layers of personality take whole new, unrelated and implausible roles. The result is the cheapest excuse available: an international espionage drivel. The reason that puts so many fans off is precisely such cheap turn of events. I don't. For once, I struggled, but succeeded at adapting an open mentality while repeating to myself: "This is a director taking risky chances with unexpected twists. Don't give up. You like that. You missed watching something like this." But then the movie kept progressing, and not only was I completely uninterested at the plot elements and horrified with the poorly done technical qualities during the "action" scenes, but also I couldn't relate to the characters I had known beforehand so intimately. I felt betrayed and mocked. It didn't even achieve to be a quality action film or a smart comedic spoof. No. It was a pretentious and shallow plot-twist show. So, I have a final question for Hal Hartley, if I may: What was the inconvenience of making <i>Fay Grim</i> as an independent film, completely unrelated with the characters? What were the aspects, either artistic or creative, that forced <i>Fay Grim</i> to become a poorly done and embarrassingly humorous vehicle of parody improvisations that forced its plot connections with the past film through ridiculous premises? This is not a sequel to Henry Fool. It's fucking Twilight Zone. It's a dream. It's a dream that Henry had in the previous film while being drunk and passing out in an outtake. Yes. That's gotta be it. That's gotta be it, dammit! 41/100
    Edgar C Super Reviewer
  • Aug 04, 2010
    Cast: Parker Posey, Jeff Goldblum, Saffron Burrows, D.J. Mendel, Liam Aiken, Jasmin Tabatabai, Chuck Montgomery, James Urbaniak, John Keogh, Claudia Michelsen Director: Hal Hartley Summary: When it's discovered that her deceased ex-husband's manuscript contains information that could threaten national security and implicate the government in a variety of conspiracies, Fay Grim (Parker Posey) is forced to travel to Paris and retrieve the book before it falls into the wrong hands. A follow-up to the critically acclaimed Henry Fool, this puzzling thriller from Hal Hartley also stars Jeff Goldblum and Saffron Burrows. My Thoughts: "It's an offbeat kind of film full of some odd, quirky characters. The story is OK and interesting enough to keep you watching, but it just wasn't anything special. Parker Posey, is what kept me watching this movie. She does a really great job in this film. I enjoyed Jeff Goldblum, in this as well. Thought him and Parker were quite funny in this. The acting in this film is a bit over the top, which makes the film seem even more silly. But I think it was the directors intention to have some of the scenes to come off that way. In the end, it was just an OK flick with some funny moments. If your a fan of Parker Posey, I would say have a go at this film."
  • Oct 18, 2009
    In Fay Grim Hartley rearranges Henry Fool's characters into a more lighthearted, ironic espionage tale. Unfortunately this film seems to only work in the minds those who enjoyed and looked forward to the further exploits of the original's characters, since there is an overall sloppiness to the sequel's construction. The humor is sometimes crisp enough, as is the talent involved, but mostly this just felt like an unnecessary epilogue which, in some cases, causes the original to lose meaning. The primary example being the validity given to Henry's "confessions" when the crux of the first was that his character was ultimately full of shit...and besides, if Henry's work had been even remotely related to spy/travel memoirs, why would he have gotten so visibly upset when Simon rejects its artistic worth?
    Brett W Super Reviewer
  • May 22, 2009
    Well, all's I got to say about this movie is that it's a bit of a mess. I like stories where ordinary people are thrust into extraordinary situations, but this was just convoluted as all get out. The last half-hour was pretty good, but I spend the first two-thirds of the movie wondering what the hell was going on and why I should give a damn about Parker Posey's character. Then I found out it was a sequel to something. Kind of wish I'd have know that BEFORE I rented it!!!
    Duncan R Super Reviewer

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