Fay Grim
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Fay Grim is a 2006 espionage thriller film written and directed by Hal Hartley. The film is a sequel to Hartley s 1997 film Henry Fool, and revolves around the title character, played by Parker Posey, the sister of Simon Grim (James Urbaniak). The plot revolves around Fay s attempt to unravel an increasingly violent mystery in Europe.

Hartley began writing the script in 2002, and filming took place in Europe from January to March 2006. It premiered in September at the 2006 Toronto International Film Festival, and received a theatrical release in the United States on May 18, 2007. The film was shot almost entirely in Dutch angles, meaning the vast majority of shots are framed diagonally, or tilted . At the 2007 Sundance Film Festival, Hartley revealed that the two shots in the film s final cut that are not Dutched occurred when he and the film crew forgot to tilt the camera.

A sequel, Ned Rifle, was released in 2014.


Seven years after the events of Henry Fool, Fay Grim (Parker Posey) is coerced by a CIA agent (Jeff Goldblum) to try to locate the confession novel notebooks that belonged to her fugitive husband (Thomas Jay Ryan) whom he believes to be deceased. Fay is launched into a world of espionage as she travels to Paris to retrieve some of the journals, each having mysteriously appeared in the hands of the most unlikely of people. Simon Grim, Fay s brother and Nobel Prize–winning poet because of Henry, remains home with his sister s son, the CIA and his publisher.

Even in death it seems Henry is a force of nature causing life changing ructions in the lives of those he has touched. Fay is surrounded by competing agents all vying for her help in retrieving notebooks as she and Simon start getting clues to what the unpublishable nonsense of The Confession is really all about and why the CIA believe they contain information that could compromise U.S. security. A former air-hostess befriends Fay and reveals she was similarly touched by Henry s chaotic influence and aid her in her efforts.

Fay s whirlwind culminates in a tense meeting with a notorious terrorist and friend of Henry where she has to make the biggest decision of her life.


  • Parker Posey as Fay Grim
  • James Urbaniak as Simon Grim
  • Liam Aiken as Ned Grim
  • Jeff Goldblum as Agent Fulbright
  • Megan Gay as Principal
  • Jasmin Tabatabai as Milla
  • Chuck Montgomery as Angus James
  • Leo Fitzpatrick as Carl Fogg
  • Saffron Burrows as Juliet
  • Elina Löwensohn as Bebe
  • Thomas Jay Ryan as Henry Fool
  • Anatole Taubman as Jallal
  • Nikolai Kinski as Amin
  • John Keogh as Prosecutor
  • Mehdi Nebbou as Islamic Cleric
  • Claudia Michelsen as Judge
  • David Scheller as Convict Husband
  • Sibel Kekilli as Concierge Istanbul Hotel
  • Peter Benedict as Raul Picard


Fay Grim, like its predecessor Henry Fool (1997), was directed, written, co-produced and composed by Hal Hartley. Plans for a Henry Fool sequel went back to 1994, when Hartley made a note to himself that the film would be the first in a series. During production of the first film, Hartley joked about making sequels but had no serious plans to do so. A few years after the release of Henry Fool, Hartley began to reconsider the idea of a sequel. When asked by Hartley in April 2002, Parker Posey said she wanted to reprise her role as Fay Grim, prompting Hartley to begin writing the script that year. Although Posey had a smaller role in the first film, Hartley was impressed with her acting and had always intended for the sequel to focus on her character. Reassembling other returning cast members was easy according to Hartley, as the project had been in discussion for years.

Hartley said that Fay Grim was inspired by current world events and the world around him, particularly after the September 11 attacks and the awareness that it raised about terrorism and espionage. He said he wanted to pull the characters in this direction – into an international espionage farce – because the world was feeling crazy, mixed-up, and very dangerous . He envisioned Fay as the representative American of a certain type: well-intentioned but ill-informed. This is a story of her getting tossed into the wider world, and hearing and learning about all the complexity at a political level. And she s sort of being a stand-in for people like me — as hard as I try to understand everything, I never trust that I have a real good grip on it . Hartley read the 2003 mystery thriller novel The Da Vinci Code twice while writing the script as he wanted to make good on all the genre expectations .

Fay Grim was produced for $2 million, an increase from the $900,000 budget of its predecessor. Executive producer Ted Hope, a longtime collaborator of Hartley s, contacted his friends Joana Vicente and Jason Kilot to produce the film and finance its budget, which included global travel and stunts. The project was announced during the 2005 Toronto International Film Festival. Filming began in Europe in mid-January 2006, and concluded by the end of March. The primary filming location was Berlin, where Hartley had lived since 2004. A number of locations in Berlin stood in for New York, as filming in the actual state was deemed too expensive. Other filming locations included Paris and Istanbul, with some exterior pick-up shots in New York City. It was the first film that Hartley shot in high definition.


Fay Grim premiered at the 2006 Toronto International Film Festival, and was released in theaters across America on May 18, 2007, with a DVD release the following Tuesday, May 22, in conjunction with Magnolia Pictures day-and-date release strategy.


Critical reception

On review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 46% based on 90 reviews, and an average rating of 5.4/10. The website s critical consensus reads, Fay Grim is too concerned with its own farcical premise to present a coherent, involving story. On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 52 out of 100, based on 26 critics, indicating generally favorable reviews .


The film won the Audience Choice Award at the RiverRun International Film Festival in 2007.

Year 2006
ReleaseDate 2007-09-27
RuntimeMins 118
RuntimeStr 1h 58min
Plot A ten-years-later continuation of Hal Hartley’s “Henry Fool”, where Fay Grim (Posey) is coerced by a CIA agent (Goldblum) to try and locate notebooks that belonged to her fugitive ex-husband (Ryan). Published in them is information that could compromises the security of the U.S., causing Fay to first head to Paris to fetch them …
Awards Awards, 3 nominations
Directors Hal Hartley
Writers Hal Hartley
Stars Parker Posey, Jeff Goldblum, Liam Aiken
Produced by Julien Berlan,Mark Cuban,Martin Hagemann,Hal Hartley,Ted Hope,R. Mike King,Jason Kliot,Mike S. Ryan,Joana Vicente,Todd Wagner,Maren Wölk,Özlem Yurtsever
Music by Hal Hartley
Cinematography by Sarah Cawley
Film Editing by Hal Hartley
Casting By Anja Dihrberg-Siebler
Production Design by Richard Sylvarnes
Art Direction by Susanne Hopf,Natalja Meier
Costume Design by Anette Guther,Daniela Selig
Makeup Department Kerstin Gaecklein,Nimet Inkaya,Theodora Katsoulogiannakis,Helen Murphy,Barbara Radke-Sieb,Heiko Schmidt
Production Management Christopher Edwards,Gretchen McGowan,Birol Temizyer,Korhan Ugur
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director Richard Böhringer,Scott Kirby,Damon Maulucci
Art Department Friederike Beckert,Anne Grumbrecht,Dennis Hahn,Christoph Heinecke,Nicolas Lefèbvre,Tolga Pakman,Florian Speidel,Sascha Strutz
Sound Department David Jung,Christian Lutz,Paul Oberle,Matthias Schwab
Special Effects by Adolf Wojtinek,Bernd Wildau
Stunts Georg Armin Sauer,Rainer Werner,Joseph Beddelem
Camera and Electrical Department Mustafa Aslan,Adnan Aydin,Tom D Angelo,Beate Ehrentraut,Sabrina Fiedler,Glenn Fishel,Simon Frenzl,Andreas Frey,Dan Hersey,Patryk Hyrzyk,Bernd Hübner,Alexander Jung,Pedram Kramer,Oliver Kühne,Tina Künnemann,Volker Langholz,Martin Ludwig,Alexandre Léglise,Tommy Mann,Florian Niedermeier,Lars Obelmann,Bjoern Susen,Muharrem Tirmik,John Woods,Lukasz Wyszkowski,Abdullah Yazici
Casting Department Youna De Peretti,Bernhard Karl,Antje Mißbach,Christine Rennert
Costume and Wardrobe Department Asli Altan,Virginia Cook,Diana Güven,Lilli Heinemann,Cecile Maillot,Ruby Riad
Editorial Department Kyle Gilman,Christopher Weser
Location Management Roland Gerhardt,Sebastian Kentner,Guillaume Lefrançois,Margot Luneau,Gernot Sprenger
Music Department Tracy McKnight
Script and Continuity Department Ruth Hetzer
Transportation Department Mark Gleisberg,Tobias Gottschlich,Robert Merlin Hocker,Samuel Kupfer,Zahiddin Polat,Franck Riet,Jean-Francois Vendroux,Benjamin Weidner
Additional Crew Courtney Andrialis,Maria Bergeaud,Tara Blanchard,Maxime Brun,Nathan Lee Bush,Frank Dauro,Anne Duncker,Gisela Emberger,Kathy England,Stephan Eppinger,Can Eskinazi,Sylke Ferber,Kyle Gilman,Nicholas Goldfarb,Jennifer Guillarmain,Dirk Hannemann,Josh Herrig,Steve Holmgren,Juliane Hoppe,Felix Kastner,Louis Katz,Ireen Kirsch,Reisebüro Gisela Lenthin,Jean Pierre Leroc,Quentin Little,Christopher Matson,Jordana Maurer,Laura Maxfield,André Morell,Lilia Nentwig,Melissa Ottaviano,Miguel Angelo Pate,Thomas Paturel,Sina Rasim Pekcanatti,Kristina Redick,Mailis Riim-Lesch,Mustafa Saygin,Lutz Schönwald,Elke Seiler,Frank Stuart,Tyler Swing,Justin Thomas,Stanley Thomas,Stefan Thomsen,Huseyin Torunoglu,Diana Victor,Anne Waak,Juliane Walker,Christopher Weser,Moritz Wessendorff,Matt Whitman,Virginia A. Williams Wetteborn,Michael Wollitz,Ilker Çatak,Eric Papa
Thanks Morgan Blackmore,Frank Frattaroli,Steve Hamilton,Ted Hope,Marlene McCarty,Lisa Porter,Adam Rackoff
Genres Action, Comedy, Thriller
Companies HDNet Films, Neon Productions, Possible Films
Countries USA, Germany, France
Languages English, French
ContentRating R
ImDbRating 6.1
ImDbRatingVotes 4555
MetacriticRating 52
Keywords notebook,fugitive,cia agent,character name as title,two word title