Mr. Harrigan’s Phone is a supernatural coming-of-age drama written and directed by John Lee Hancock. It is based on a short story by Stephen King and set in a small Maine town.

Craig lives alone with his father and is still mourning the death of his mother. At school, he is tormented by a bully and defended by a sensitive African-American teacher.

Mr. Harrigan (Donald Sutherland), an elderly billionaire, hires Craig to read to him from his extensive library, many of them classics, and discuss them. Over the years a friendship develops between the teenager and the recluse, who has no family or friends.

Their relationship changes when Craig gives Mr. Harrigan an iPhone and introduces him to the world of information available to him through this complicated communication vehicle. The old man is fascinated by the device, though he predicts it could be a gateway to all kinds of dire developments.

Craig being bullied at school

Writer and director John Lee Hancock makes the most of this prediction. When Mr. Harrigan dies, Craig discovers he can still communicate with him through his phone, and the device becomes a way for him to get revenge (a perennial Stephen King fascination).

The key to dealing with the supernatural finale lies in the following quotation by Tenzin Palmo in Reflections on a Mountain Lake:

“Who knows what our relationship has been with someone who is causing us difficulties now? Who knows what we may have done to him in another life if we respond to such people with retaliation, we are just locking ourselves into that same cycle. . . . The only way to break out of the cycle is by changing our attitude.”