H. is filled with symbolism and contrasting juxtapositioning of material. The film seems to take its title from the main protagonists, two women named Helen who both live in Troy, New York.
One is late middle-aged and a member of "Newborn Angels," a group of childless women who dote upon ultra-lifelike infant dolls as if they were live infants, including setting alarms for 3:00 AM feedings and, yes; even breastfeeding them (or at least pretending to). Helen's husband, Roy, seems devoted to Helen at most times, but there is also an undercurrent of dissatisfaction and boredom in his attitude, especially toward Henry, Helen's reborn infant doll.
The second Helen is younger, perhaps in her early 30s, and is part of a performance art team along with her husband. The focus of their chosen art genre seems to be death, violence, and blood. They have been known to have knock-down, drag-out arguments with each other, including hitting, punching, and bruising one another at times. They include this as part of their art. Helen is expecting a child. Her husband, Alex, is a known philanderer, but he also seems to genuinely love and treasure Helen.
These two women are followed as contrasting parallel stories surrounding a suspected meteor explosion that causes many people in troy to start behaving strangely around the time of the meteor event. Some are convulsed by an ear-splitting whine that precedes the meteor. Others wander away from home and family without knowing where they are going.
The older Helen's husband has a fishing buddy named Harold. Roy and Harold decide to go fishing at nearby Lake George, which also turns out later to be the destination of all the missing people who wander off from their homes. Helen does not hear from Roy for a couple of days after the meteor explosion, and suspects that he must be one of the people who wandered into the field near lake George where all the other missing people have congregated, lying down in the snow in semi-fetal positions.
Many of the missing people are found to have no memory of who they are or how they got to Lake George. When Helen calls the hotline for the families of the missing people, she is told that Roy is not among those found lying in the field near Lake George. She is very upset, and asks if there are any men who have forgotten who they are and have no ID. She is told that they have one such "John Doe" who has not been claimed by anyone yet. She goes to the hospital and finds that the John Doe is not Roy, but is close to the same age. She pretends that he is her Roy and claims him anyway, not revealing the truth to the officials at the hospital.
The younger Helen feels that there something wrong with her unborn child and has a sonogram performed during which the doctors find that there is no fetus present in her womb. They conclude that Helen has suffered a false pregnancy, but Helen will not believe it, insisting that she feels the baby moving and kicking inside her. Around the time of the meteor event, Helen drives to Lake George and winds up lying among the other missing people there. But for unknown reasons she becomes the only fatality among them. Alex is heartbroken over his wife's death. Here the film mysteriously ends.
Two of the major symbols that recur in the course of the film are the stray black horse, which appears in three separate scenes: first blocking the road in front of Roy and Harold's car. Next running through the streets of Troy amidst the confusion of the meteor event. And finally in the woods near Lake George with the younger Helen. Here the black horse appears in two forms: as a normal horse and as a man-horse creature that confronts Helen just before she gets to the field where she lays down and dies.
The other symbol is the giant head of a statue, presumably of Helen of Troy, which is found inexplicably floating in Lake George. It is either the remains of the meteor itself or it was blown off an existing statue somewhere. We are never told where the head or the horse came from during the film or given any specific information about their significance.
This film may bore many people, but I found it really enthralling, especially the reborn doll scenes. I had never heard of such a thing before I saw this film. The dolls captured my interest initially (they really creeped me out personally!) and the other story elements carried me along.