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|Index||77 reviews in total|
Michel Gondry's 2001 flick 'Human Nature' is a fascinating idea made
into a fascinating, superb film. Imagine a women who has hair all over
her body... a somewhat Tarzan is trained to be a human being and a dead
doctor is talking from hell/heaven. What a unique and commendable idea,
Written by Charlie Kaufman and wonderfully directed by Michel Gondry,
'Human Nature' is different stuff, but pretty good stuff. Thumbs Up!
Performances: Tim Robbins can never be doubted. He's fantastic as always. Miranda Otto carries off her french accent wonderfully and delivers a stupendous performance. Rhys Ifans is a complete natural, not once he goes overboard. Patricia Arquette is superb.
on the whole 'Human Nature' is morbid, but, neat work. Watch this one!
Freud stated that all human behavior is determined by primal instincts,
such as sex and hunger.
Kaufman and Gondry's Human Nature brilliantly explores this notion, and it is a blast to watch.
This is one of the funniest, most intelligent films I have ever seen about human relationships...if Woody Allen and Salvador Dali ever collaborated on a film, it would look something like Human Nature.
What makes this film so brilliant is that it explores so many intelligent themes, such as American versus French culture, the battle of the sexes, the survival instinct, the dangers of repression and the resultant outbreak of the Id, and yet is able to sustain a lighthearted, surreal sense of humor throughout it all.
I believe that the reason this film was not so well-received was because Being John Malkovich was so well-received, that expectations were exceedingly high for Kaufman's follow up film, Human Nature. When Human Nature turned out to be a vastly different film from Being John Malkovich, the critics predictably were not satisfied with the film.
Michel Gondry, the director of Human Nature, is a true original, and all of his subsequent films, Eternal Sunshine, Dave Chappelle's Block Party, and the Science of Sleep, are also brilliant.
But for me, Human Nature is his best film so far, because it is able to balance the drama and the comedy without one overwhelming the other, as in Eternal Sunshine.
In terms of release dates, Human Nature (2001) has got to be one of the
weirdest movies I've encountered: It premiered in Cannes 2001, but is
getting released only now (May 2002) in the states (limited release) and
Europe, in a painfully slow manner - See Release Dates.
Nice movie about the human nature, as its title suggests. It presents some interesting aspects about the human society and the rules we make. Although I expected it to be a little more "deep" and present some more fundamental and philosophical ideas, it's very enjoyable and extremely funny at times.
The 4 leading actors are great, especially Rhys Ifans and Patricia Arquette (how brave!); Who knew she's got such a lovely singing voice, too?
This is Michel Gondry's first feature. Gondry is a French video-clips director, known for his excellent work on such music videos as Massive Attack's "Protection"; Chemical Brothers' "Let forever be"; Foo Fighters' "Everlong"; Daft Punk's "Around the World"; and Bjork's "Joga", "Bachelorette", "Hyperballad", "Isobel", "Army of me" and "Human Behaviour".
HUMAN NATURE (2002) *** Tim Robbins, Patricia Arquette, Rhys Ifans, Miranda Otto, Robert Forster, Mary Kay Place, Anthony Winsick. Absurdist comic fable of the highest caliber with a fun cast of misfits: Robbins is an anal retentive behavioral scientist, Arquette a sexy gal afflicted with recurring body hair growth and Ifans a man raised as a primate (all stoically putting on a game face here) combine the three for a high-brow, low concept of how mankind in a nutshell still is at odds with sexuality, social morays and the pursuit of happiness. Nutsy screenplay by Charlie Kaufman shines but is not as memorable as his first (`Being John Malkovich'). (Dir: Michael Gondry)
Why aren't more films like this?
After a dreadful 2001 we know have a film of invention and originality with something to say. It's also incredibly funny.
Comparisons with Being John Malkovich will be inevitable but these two are creating a whole genre of their own: the off-the-wall, gender-role obsessed, animalcentric super comedy.
A deceased behavioural scientist waiting to enter heaven, a woman with body hair issues and a man raised as an ape each tell separate panels how their lives came to overlap in this offbeat comedy written by Charlie Kaufman and directed by Michel Gondry - the team behind 'Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind'. The drama here is not as touching as in their latter collaboration, but the comedy side of 'Human Nature' is just as quirky with eccentricities ranging from laboratory mice who have been taught how to use cutlery to Rhys Ifans mixing up dining manners with his baser human urges. The title of the film is somewhat ironic as the film explores the effects of conditioning - as well as the side effects of repressing what comes naturally. It is not an entirely realistic story as the scientist, played by Tim Robbins, kidnaps a feral Rhys Ifans, found in the woods, and raises him in a glass cage in his laboratory like a guinea pig, but then again, from the gigantic illuminated signs that Robbins uses to teach him how to talk to politely (!) to the somewhat miniature furniture that he gradually crowds his glass cage with, outrageousness seems to be what Kaufman and Gondry are most acutely interested in. Plus, of course, prodding questions of just how much sense conditioning makes and whether we are in life ultimately driven by sexual desires above all else.
Men raised as apes. Mannered mice. Women with bad body hair days. Don't
expect anything halfway normal in the ironically-titled "Human Nature,"
the first collaboration between the brilliant Michel Gondry and even
more brilliant Charlie Kaufman. Forget style above substance, this is a
thinking man's comedy, quirky and utterly hilarious. This film begins
with the revelation that Nathan Bronfman (Tim Robbins) is dead,
courtesy of a small round bullet hole in his forehead, and somewhere in
the afterlife in a room where everything is white. In prison is Lila
Jute (Patricia Arquette), and testifying before some Congressional
committee is a nattily dressed but strangely bearded man named Puff
(Rhys Ifans). Apparently there are issues about being "sorry" that this
film will explain, but first we have to get up to speed on how this
strange collection of characters came to be strange.
"Human Nature" is full of brilliant ideas, but the whole touch of the film is less outlandish than the other. Actually, you may say some scenes are direct parody of methods used in classic Hollywood films, and some scenes, especially opening ten minutes, even remind you of films such as "American Beauty" and "A Life Less Ordinary." By saying that, I do not mean the lack of originality; rather, the director Gondry is cleverly challenging us with unique skills shown in these film, deftly using them to his purpose. And the most amusing thing about "Human Nature" is its ever-changing relationships of love between four characters, among which Puff's sadly too human nature plays the most prominent role. Puff also gets most of the good lines, from pointing out at the start that being raised by a man who thinks he is an ape is pretty much the same as actually being raised by apes to his recognition of a stage that exists before a beloved teacher takes a student from crayons to perfume. While not as easy a crowd-pleaser as Kaufman's previous work, "Human Nature" has its fair share of oddball moments. Enough so that anyone looking for another iconoclastic romp will do well enough if they look here.
Overall rating: 8 out of 10.
The trailer of this one was mostly off-putting. It showed
possibilities, but Patricia Arquette in that awful wig? I watched it
again and again, and focused on the positive, but the uncertainty made
me wait (+ the option I found was hellishly expensive) but the research
on IMDb showed a considerable interest in this movie, including the kid
on the board post whose Mommy forbid seeing it.
A more affordable British option became available, but I still kept holding back, especially after GOODBYE, LOVER, an earlier DVD purchase, drew a less-than-thrilled-with-Patricia response. Yet, it is a RavenGlam idiom here in ElectricLadyLand, "she's an Arquette", yes, glamor runs in that bloodline. So, I finally took the chance. When it came to watching, I was just prepared, do not expect too much, you are bound to be disappointed.
I was very quickly nicely surprised. This was very well done. The al fresco nudist scene with Patricia singing that bit about all the hair and the cuddly old bear while the forest denizens watch on, that is just movie magic, admittedly very, very off-beat, I am a total purist at heart and wouldn't want the cast of 90210 or MELROSE PLACE to sprout hair, hair everywhere, but this sequence was so innocent and charming...
Okay, there are bits in the movie that needed a rethink. And Nathan was so dull, why he had Gabrielle interested in him as well, I fail to understand. She wasn't a gold-digger, he surely wasn't even rich, what did he have to offer? His nice personality??? Miranda Otto is another very big plus point of this movie. She played her sexy faux French chick to perfection. Okay, I fail to understand why she and Puff unites at the end, she is supposed to be a bad girl. If it's for sex, it's not for some devious reason. Anyway, love Miranda's bedroom lair and her nice long legs. Gee, for those of you who misunderstood, Gabrielle knew exactly how hot she was, and just pretended to feel ordinary to draw a deluge of compliments from Nathan.
Loved her whirlwind clean-up act. Sounds only, but imagine it as a cartoon.
Movie starts off great, fails to maintain that level. It is grossly uneven. But I am very glad I bought it. With all its faults, it is well worth watching. I'd just not have brought death into a comedic plot. Takes the fun out of it.
Oh, and I'm pretty sure it is not raven nature to fly into trees. Those two mice were too darling for this world, they could never be allowed out on their own.
Human Nature is easily the least-remembered and least-talked about film
in Charlie Kaufman's small but memorable body of work, and probably in
Michel Godnry's ouevre as well. That's not too surprising -- it was a
box office flop, is rather rough around the edges, and was part of the
tail end of a bunch of 90s indy romcoms that everyone would like to
forget. But I think Human Nature is definitely worth revisiting,
especially given the slim odds of a new Kaufman film any time soon.
Like Kaufman's other films, Human Nature grapples with the artificiality and all-encompassing anxiety of everyday life. Lila and Nathan are consumed with the attempt to deny their animal nature, which in effect means denying their own bodies. But despite their hours of etiquette training and electrolysis, animality keeps bursting out. The return to the wild and the acknowledgement of the animal appears for a time as a way to escape the postmodern anxiety that Kaufman constantly grapples with. But in the end, this is too easy a solution, and primitivism becomes another mediated narrative and ultimately a postmodern joke. But the escape to the wild was fun while it lasted -- and maybe, just maybe, there's something genuinely positive there.
Beyond the philosophical point, it's also funny movie that doesn't overstay its welcome. While thoroughly enjoyable, Human Nature doesn't take it easy on the audience, despite being in a genre associated with crowd-pleasing. All of the three central characters alternate between being sympathetic and repulsive, and if there's a romance we're supposed to be rooting for, it becomes very unclear by the end.
Kaufman's script is as good as ever, but many of the surrounding elements are pedestrian. Michel Gondry shows no sign of his usual visual flair or directorial ambition. Rhys Ilfan is good in a role that mixes endearing dorkishness with serial-killer menace, but other than him and a brief appearance by Peter Dinklage the performances are unremarkable and quickly forgotten. None of the visual or performative elements are exactly bad, but they lack the kind of inventiveness that would have made this film truly shine. Human Nature would have benefited from a Wes Anderson or a Rian Johnson at the helm.
Human Nature probably deserves its status as Kaufman/Gondry minora, but it's still well worth watching. Like most good art, it raises more questions than it answers, leaving the audience to find a way to reconcile the demands of nature and culture. If this is the worst movie you make, you're doing something right.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
An enjoyable thought-provoking film with a bunch of great ideas, as
once can expect from the combo Kauffmam & Gondry, but not as well
grounded, mixed and presented as in other collaborations of the pair.
This is a movie that explores human nature through the concept of noble
savage and its reverse.
The main question posed is, What is natural to humans? What makes us humans, Culture or instinct? To exemplify what is natural or unnatural to humans, sex is used as a medium of exploration. Through the sexual behavior of the different characters -all of them very different in personality and upbringing- we see who they really are and what is common to all of them.
The ideas and concepts explored in the film are fascinating and presented in a light way. The contradictions of human behavior and spirit are very well depicted. We see how Culture and instinct intertwine in an unnatural way, how the instinct is tamed and masked to allow itself to express, and when it does express, it does so in an unnatural way.
For example, the role of savage Puff is taught to repress his sexual urges in public as a non-acceptable human behavior, but then we see that doing that with prostitutes, for money, in a sub-world, is accepted and not considered unnatural, when in fact it is. At the same time, Nathan, the scientist training Puff, is obsessed with the importance of manners as a characteristic element of human civilization, but then he craves wild sex and cheats on his girlfriend giving way to his most basic sexual urges while he, at the same time, is telling Puff to repress his.
Another good exploration, not that usual in movies where the noble savage is a theme, is the retraining "backwards" of the savage, from civilized to savage to be natural and human again. That's perhaps the most original exploration in the movie.
The acting is OK in general. I though that Patricia Arquette is good and believable in her role as Lila, a weirdo lonely writer who craves love and spiritual connection. However, I thought the best of the bunch was Miranda Otto, in her brilliant interpretation of Gabrielle, a raunchy naughty scientist fake-French assistant. She's so funny in her role! I liked the fake 60s images of the characters' childhood, the super-cute experiments and images with the mice learning to eat with forks, and the scenes of Natham in "heaven".
The end is unexpected and shocking, and shows again, how this story is not moralistic, and how it is in human nature not to be natural and natural at the same time.
So, you'd be asking by now, why all these good elements make me rate the movie with just a 6.5. That's because there is not one element that amalgamates all the good philosophical elements of the film to turn it into something memorable and easy to understand for everybody. The dialogs are poor. The comedy is not comic enough most of the time. The viewer can get lost in what he/she sees, and not in the good bits of the movie. There is not a moving strong love story either, sex being the main subject of the movie. Moreover, the movie has this kitsch atmosphere that is not everybody liking; yes, it is comic, but it is still kitsch and sometimes even cheesy.
I still enjoyed the movie as it is entertaining and thought-provoking, which is more of what most movies do nowadays.
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