Brian Tyree Henry may be best known for his role as Paper Boi in the recently concluded Atlanta, but he’s recently earned a lot of acclaim on the film festival circuit for his role in Causeway opposite Jennifer Lawrence. Though the movie was filmed for Apple in 2019, it just started making the rounds in late 2022. Outside of Causeway, most of Henry’s best-known projects have only been released since 2018, including his voice work in the animated series Big Mouth and HouseBroken, currently airing.
Many of Henry’s movies are certified “fresh” through review aggregator site Rotten Tomatoes. Henry’s best critically reviewed movies all land at over 60% on the site, and there will surely be more highly rated projects from him in the future as he will be reprising his roles in Spider-Man: Across The Spider-Verse and Godzilla and Kong.
10/10 Child’s Play (2019) 63%
Available to rent on Apple TV+.
Intended as a reboot of the Child’s Play franchise that began in 1988, the 2019 movie brought the doll into the modern era. Instead of being possessed by someone else’s spirit, the doll was the product of Artificial Intelligence with no safeguards. Henry plays Detective Mike Norris, who takes the case once bodies started piling up.
Henry’s role is relatively straightforward horror movie fare as a detective who follows the wrong path of clues until it’s almost too late. Despite the movie receiving mixed reviews and being seen as predictable, audiences still found it to be the same kind of fun horror that made the original Chucky movies so entertaining. It doesn’t have any connection to the new Chucky TV series, which instead, spins out of the original series of movies.
9/10 Joker (2019) 68%
Available to stream on HBO Max.
Considered one of the best R-rated superhero movies, Joker explored a new take on Batman’s most famous nemesis as a failed comedian who ends up in Arkham Asylum. Henry only has one scene in the movie, and it occurs opposite Joaquin Phoenix’s title character.
The scene involves a confrontation between Phoenix’s Arthur Fleck and Henry’s Arkham clerk Carl. It’s an intense moment that provides the audience with some suspense, and it makes a lot of movie fans wish for more of Henry in the movie.
8/10 Godzilla Vs. Kong (2021) 75%
Available to stream on HBO Max.
Whether a monster movie knocks it out of the park or not, the audience goes in knowing they will be immensely entertained. In Godzilla Vs. Kong, the giant monster sequences balance nicely with the human element for a blend of popcorn fun and memorable characters.
Henry plays Bernie Hayes, a conspiracy theorist who has a lot of ideas about the giant monsters that reside on the planet, and he just happens to be right about a lot of those things. His addition to the movie is a fun one, as it gives a new dimension beyond simply the big monster fight.
7/10 Family (2018) 76%
Available to stream on Tubi.
Much of the praise for Family is deservedly heaped on Taylor Schilling and Bryn Vale in the lead roles of Kate and Maddie — a woman and her niece who end up bonding as misfits. Henry’s role is Pete, Maddie’s karate instructor.
Family is the kind of movie that only works if all the actors are pulling their weight. It’s a darkly comedic take on the bonds of family and how society views those who don’t conform. Pete isn’t a standout character, but Henry’s performance adds nuance to the film.
6/10 Vivo (2021) 86%
Available to stream on Netflix.
An animated project for Henry, Vivo is from the creative mind of Lin-Manuel Miranda. It centers on an animal trying to get an important song to a woman after the songwriter’s death. It’s a love letter to music, Cuba, and Florida, but it’s also a wonderful story for children.
Henry voices a spoonbill named Dancarino, and though he’s not the main character, he does have a sweet romantic storyline of his own — and gets to help save the protagonist’s life. Henry’s vocal talents are perfectly expressive for the animated story.
5/10 Causeway (2022) 86%
Available to stream on Apple TV+.
Released for Apple TV+, Causeway stars Jennifer Lawrence as Lynsey, a veteran looking to adjust to life outside a war zone. Henry’s James is also a veteran whom Lynsey meets during her struggles.
The movie has generated buzz with every film festival it appeared in, and much of that praise is heaped on Henry. He’s been nominated for his supporting performance for both the Gotham Independent Film Awards and the Independent Spirit Awards.
4/10 The Outside Story (2020) 90%
Available to stream on Hulu.
The Outside Story was a victim of delays and reschedulings due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which resulted in the temporary shutdown of many film festivals and cinemas. The movie didn’t get the wide release it deserved.
Henry stars as Charles, a man who usually keeps to himself, but finds himself locked out of his apartment when he goes to accept a delivery. Getting locked out turns out to be a poignant journey as he connects with the people who live around him and really gets to know his neighbors. The movie has plenty of charm and heart.
3/10 Widows (2018) 91%
Available to stream on Direct TV.
Henry’s work as Jamal Manning, a crime boss with political ambitions, is fantastic, and he steals every scene he’s in. The writing and the performance make Widows one of Henry’s best projects.
2/10 If Beale Street Could Talk (2018) 95%
Available to stream on Netflix.
Like many of Henry’s early movie roles, he doesn’t get a lot of screen time in If Beale Street Could Talk, but the few scenes he’s in are memorable.
The movie follows a couple who have big plans which get destroyed when one of them is accused of a crime they didn’t commit. Henry plays Daniel Carty, a friend of the accused man who actually serves prison time under similar circumstances. His performance is an emotional one that underscores the gravitas of the film.
1/10 Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse (2018) 97%
Available to stream on Sling TV.
Though Henry doesn’t appear on-screen, Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse might be his best-known project outside of Atlanta. He voices Jefferson Davis, the father of Spider-Man Miles Morales.
The bulk of the story is focused on Miles’ journey to becoming a hero, but Henry’s vocal performance is a steadying one in the film. He grounds Miles in the love of his family while an otherwise fantastical story of heroes from other universes plays out.