Henry’s Glasses Synopsis

It’s 1945 in Tashme, the Japanese Canadian internment camp our film Henry’s Glasses is based. The story revolves around a young 8-year-old boy named Henry and his exceptional pair of glasses. He lives with his younger sister and his mother, who is struggling to raise her children without her husband. Henry’s father lives on the opposite side of the country in the POW camp, Angler Ontario.

Before Henry’s grandfather passed away in Tashme a couple years back, he gave Henry a gift. This gift was his old pair of spectacles that he claimed held a magical power: the ability to see a brighter day. With a gift such as that and a young and creative mind like Henry’s, the brighter days he sees are something truly magical as he finds himself surrounded by colours, music, animals and galaxies.

One afternoon, Henry is walking down the roadway and meets an old man, Mr. Yamamoto. It turns out, the old man knew Henry’s grandfather quite well before he passed away. In many ways, Mr. Yamamoto reminds Henry of his grandfather, and similarly, Henry reminds Mr. Yamamoto of his youth – a time before the embarrassment and discrimination of the internment.

When Henry shows Mr. Yamamoto the glasses, he thinks Mr. Yamamoto will see the same beautiful world he did, but this is not the case. Although Mr. Yamamoto tries to believe in the glasses, he still looks through the lenses and sees the internment solely. Henry, a little perturbed, takes the glasses back and wanders home.

A day later, he returns to visit Mr. Yamamoto. As they talk, Henry believes he must help his grandfather’s friend see a brighter day. He offers the glasses one more time, yet just like the day before, Mr. Yamamoto doesn’t see anything out of the ordinary. It is at this time that Henry decides to leave the glasses with Mr. Yamamoto and explains to him they will work if he truly believes. Henry knows this is what his grandfather would have wanted.

As Mr. Yamamoto sits alone looking around at his surroundings, he watches Henry walk away and is touched by his kindness and generosity. As he considers this gift of magnanimity, he feels better inside. He looks at his weathered old hands that show years of struggle and hard work, gently holding the glasses that claim to give an escape, something he dearly needs. As he focuses on the glasses, he notices something out of the ordinary, a colourful glare that vibrates in magic. He looks to where he last saw Henry, but his new young friend has gone. He returns his glance to the glasses, with trust and uncertainty, he slowly raises them to his eyes… amazed.


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