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Human Nature (2001)

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A woman is in love with a man in love with another woman, and all three have designs on a young man raised as an ape.



2 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Ken Magee ...
Police Detective
Police Detective
Police Detective
Doctor (as Stanley Desantis)
Bobby Harwell ...
Bobby Pyle ...
Chase MacKenzie Bebak ...
Young Nathan (as Chase Bebak)


A philosophical burlesque, Human Nature follows the ups and downs of an obsessive scientist, a female naturalist, and the man they discover, born and raised in the wild. As scientist Nathan trains the wild man, Puff, in the ways of the world - starting with table manners - Nathan's lover Lila fights to preserve the man's simian past, which represents a freedom enviable to most. In the power struggle that ensues, an unusual love triangle emerges exposing the perversities of the human heart and the idiosyncrasies of the civilized mind. Human Nature is a comical examination of the trappings of desire in a world where both nature and culture are idealized. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


In the Interest of Civilization... Conform.


Comedy | Drama | Mystery

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for sexuality/nudity and language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:







Release Date:

12 April 2002 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Human Nature  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$297,340 (USA) (12 April 2002)


$695,876 (USA) (3 May 2002)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Many of the scenes in the forest are allusions to or recreations of scenes in the Björk music video "Human Behavior", also directed by Michel Gondry. See more »


Puff was raised by a madman who never taught him basic language skills or anything about human life. So how does he know the story of being stolen from his mother's apartment? See more »


[first lines]
Lila Jute: I'm *not* sorry.
Puff: I *am* sorry.
Nathan Bronfman: I don't even know what sorry means anymore.
See more »


References My American Uncle (1980) See more »


Au dehors frémit la pluie
Music and Orchestrations by Jean-Michel Bernard
Lyrics by Florence Fontaine
Performed by Nathalie Lhermitte with Jean-Michel Bernard (piano), Michel Gaucher (sax)
Sound engineer: Rodolphe Gervais
See more »

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User Reviews

A must-see for Americans
5 March 2003 | by (Los Angeles) – See all my reviews

There are many different kinds of movies. This is one of a rare species: a film with a message. Other people might hear different morals when watching it, or none at all, which is okay, too. But to me, Charlie Kaufman wants to tell us "deprive an adolescent of his right to a natural sexual development and you create a violent outburst".

Director Michel Gondry presents you a satire. The comedic element comes from grotesque, which is a relief after the all too juvenile teen movies that pathetically try to generate laughter by gross embarrassment and over-emphasized sounds of rearward body functions.

Instead of telling the story of average parents struggling to deal with their teenage son, you will find a) a woman with excessive body hair (in my view representing all your everyday discontent with your true self), and b) a man with an obsessive compulsion to demand perfect table manners (which of course stands for the misuse of parental power to force his unfounded views onto his "son")

The adolescent in this film being troubled by his sexual awakening is not the usual cool, hip, handsome high-school kid that all the real cool, hip,... okay-looking high-school-kids don't want to identify with anyway. It's Puff (Rhys Ifans), a young man who was raised by a deranged father to believe that he is an ape. This brings him in a situation not totally unlike that of a (human) teenager: somehow like the other humans, but being told that he's all weird and that everything he knows is suddenly wrong and bad. Eager to learn and please, he tries his best to conform, but to "control", that is, to ignore and deny his sexual curiosity, is just asking too much and he is forced to resort to deception.

It always amazes me how we Americans keep wondering why we have about 200x more shooting deaths than (other) civilized countries. One reason can be seen in the ratings for this particular film. Europe: around 12 (France: PG), USA: R, for it's hard to spot nudity. This is ironic confirmation of what the film is trying to draw attention to: by demonizing Puff's sexuality and using violence to suppress it, both Nathan and Lila become guilty of creating violence in turn.

For viewers who find this to be what this movie is about, I strongly recommend Michael Moore's Bowling for Columbine (Title 0310793 here on IMDB.com) only it is not so funny, because it's a documentary.

14 of 24 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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Is Human Nature's Nudity Really Bad? HilDuffFan
Harshly rated McLANGwich
How is Hilary duff in the movie? skinnyguinea
WHY is 'Gabrielle' pretending to be French???!!! bakert
I`ve never seen it. My mom won`t let me either. stephanie_s19
Anyone else think this part was absolutely hilarious???? thecrippler_69
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