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Human Nature
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Human Nature More at IMDbPro »

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Great the first time around

7/10
Author: kosmasp
15 September 2010

I really loved it, when I watched it for the first time. But when I had to re-watch a couple of years later (it was some sort of Sneak at a local cinema), I just couldn't laugh as much. But the truth lies somewhere in the middle. The movie is actually good, it just has a few flaws, that you might see when you watch it for the first time. And therefor maybe you should only watch it once and stay onto the good feelings you had for this movie.

It is greatly acted and the jokes hit the mark. Cleverly written and nicely directed (by Mr. Gondry who I adore very much), this has a very unique story to it. If you know Gondry, you know more or less what to expect (more or less everything alas not as greatly balanced as his more recent work).

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Quirky but Uneven

6/10
Author: kenjha
17 November 2009

Weird comedy about a hairy woman, a man who has lived in the jungles like Tarzan, a scientist who is not endowed like most men, and his over-sexed assistant. With the notable exception of the terrific "Being John Malchovich," Writer Kaufman's comedies tend to start out with intriguing premises but run out of steam long before the movie is over. And so it goes with this one, rambling about with an occasional chuckle (Robbins visiting his parents and noticing a little boy at the dinner table), but unable to sustain interest over the long haul. Otto is alluring as a scientist; Arquette with her body covered with hair is not.

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Grossly Underrated

8/10
Author: Joseph Sylvers from United States
12 June 2008

Franz Kafka's "A Report To An Academy" is the story of an ape testifying before an academy the story of how he learned to speak and think like a human and why. Though he comes to love music and eventually accepts his fate, he admits that he only began learning from his human teachers as a way to escape from his cage. Michel Gondry's "Human Nature", is one of the earliest Charlie Kaufman(Bieng John Malkovich, Adaptation) scripts , and it takes Kafka's story and modernizes it in unexpected ways. A woman with a rare condition which causes her to grow hair all over her body in vast amounts, forsakes the world and becomes a nature writer, who leaves her isolation only to find a mate. Tom Robbins plays this mate, a fastidious, obsessive compulsive, scientist obsessed with teaching table manners to mice. The two then meet a man who was raised as an ape by his father who went insane after the Kennedy assassination, and the scientist and his now shaved assistant decide to make an example of the ape-man by civilizing him. If this sounds a bit ridiculous I should also add that there are three different versions of the story being narrated by Tim Robbins from the afterlife to whatever powers that be, Patricia Arquette to the police in an interrogation room, and Rhys Ifans (our ape man) testifying before congress.

A funny, ingeniously smart, wonderfully stylized film, from a writer director team who would go on to "Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind". All performances are also top notch, in this criminally under seen, and fascinating film. Recommend | add comment

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A Fanciful Yet Insightful Film.

8/10
Author: Pablo Picasso from The Black Hole
10 February 2008

This film really looks at the struggle of one's self to either adapt to society's standards and thrive in the modern world or indulge in the primal urges of our instincts and primitive emotions, but from a point of view so as to not put the viewer off with its message. The whimsical method of the storytelling in the movie combines a subtle, almost childish sense of humor with an underlying angst that is almost too faded to notice. If you enjoyed childhood tales like Jack and the Beanstalk, this modernized fairy-tale will appeal to your inner child, but make sure you don't overlook the underlying message, or you might miss what makes this flick deserve a second look from anyone tired of the "same old same old".

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complex enough

9/10
Author: buonanotte from United Kingdom
24 January 2008

I'm writing a comment about "Human Nature" just because I can't wait for the release of "Synecdoche, New York". "Adaptation" was great but still to raw, the "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind" was genuinely sweet and passionate. The good result at the box office confirmed the hit quality and quantity. "Human Nature", such as "Being John Malkovich", is hard to suggest to the average viewer despite Gondry's direction made it a colourful and brilliant joint. The one and only problem with "Human nature" is that it never makes you laugh. If you laugh, you'll regret it. And you get used to it straight away. Tim Robbins is amazing. The little details spread all over the film are countless (The crooked teeth of Lila, the mice holding the ad at the end of the story...) and Gondry found also a way to stick in a sung tune. I really hope Kaufman not to become redundant. The plot looks creepy and mysterious. We all know that he's a master at doing it. But will he change direction?

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Charlie Kaufman does the Wild Child, in one of the oddest comedies in recent years

7/10
Author: MisterWhiplash from United States
9 December 2006

Unlike the other works from Charlie Kaufman- Being John Malkovich, Adaptation and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind- Human Nature doesn't leave the sort of unbelievable cinematic residue that stays for days and week and even years afterward. It's a work that is low-key even as it's insanely zany in spurts and totally tuned into a comedic frequency that only works for the casual viewer sometimes. But even a lesser work from the likes of Michel Gondry and Kaufman registers higher in a way that comedies with lower ambitions couldn't dream to aspire to. It has some conventionality to it, with its love triangle between Dr. Nathan Bronfman (Tim Robbins), Lila (Patricia Arquette), and Gabrielle (Miranda Otto) that ends up tearing apart the characters to question who they are (aside from Gabrielle). Yet that's not really totally at concern, though it probably has somewhere to figure into the whole idea of what makes for truth in human nature. One might argue, after seeing the film, it has something to do with individualism...actually, if we go by Kaufman's interpretation, it has to do with orgasms.

Told in quasi-Rashomon style (with the law and the afterlife, as in Rashomon, figuring into Human Nature as well), Bronfman has an interest in teaching mice table manners when we first meet him (one of the film's funniest recurring images/scenes), and gets set up on a date with Lila, who's a writer of nature stories (from personal experience, due to an abnormal hair condition as a child she decides to live in the wild after an unsuccessful stint at a side-show). She decides to conform for him, hiding the fact that she's a hairy "ape" from the wild, as he hides his compulsion for manners and proper behavior. Enter in "Puff" (Rhys Ifans, in one of his funniest roles/performances yet), who gets that name by Gabrielle, Nathan's assistant at work, and an adoptive mother to Nathan being adoptive father. Now it will be time to really go further with Nathan's research- to teach one who's been in the wild always to be a proper, educated human. This proves to be a challenge, as Puff can't resist the urge to hump whenever aroused, and is around the sexual explosion that erupts between Nathan and Gabrielle- the love triangle that unfolds that may spell as foreshadowing for Puff later on in the story...

And so on. You might get just the slight sense- scratch that, overwhelming impression- that this is not you're average tale of what it means to be an ape-man and become 'civlized'. It's a whacked-out comedy of manners and sexuality, where one's own soul becomes more of a question then what is really meant to be proper or what not. Actually, there is some interest in how Nathan figures into this as well- he's the least human of all, at least for the most part, as he loses himself in his pursuit of science, with Lila losing hers alongside. So Kaufman does end up working some very interesting characters here, and the situations and little notes that pop up are about as irreverent as he's ever done. The problem is it ends up un-even too: little things are left un-checked, as to Gabrielle possibly not being really French (it's put in as a possible note of her being untruthful as well, but it's never addressed again, or her motives of anything, even as Otto plays the character well enough), or the psychology that emerges from Puff himself. Does he just want to "have some of that" as he says to the committee, or does he get too adjusted to his surroundings.

However what holes or problems might lie in the screenplay, there's no denying the bright strengths just in general working in Human Nature. Who would think up such a strange concept, leaping bravely off of Truffaut's Wild Child into a sort of common theme in Kaufman's work so far? Kaufman would, especially as it's part of the need to feel like someone else, or what it must be to try to be something one can't really be through insecurities and troubles in dealing with reality and surroundings. I would imagine that Kaufman had a lot of fun churning this one out, possibly even thinking it might be improbable it might even get made. Luckily, it's directed by Gondry with his mix of fantastical visual energy and a real sense of humility with the absurd material. It doesn't have the same power as in his best work either, but as a first feature film it could've been a lesser endeavor too. Human Nature ends on an (ironically?) unique ending, where Puff does what we'd expect him to do, but then maybe not, and it caps off what has led up to it- a weird little ball of comic-curiosity that should please fans of Robbins (very funny in his awkward doctor character), Arquette, and especially Ifans.

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one scene can sometimes be enough

7/10
Author: dick-56 (richardlooman@hotmail.com) from italy(dutch)
22 June 2005

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Nice movie with and without up's and down's .

***contains possible spoiler*** THere is just one scene I loved so much. it's the one at the almost end of the film. The little mice were going to get free in the woods.When Ptricia Arquette opens the 'most obvious Plexiglas gate' the mice ignore it and prefer the more elegant way to open it with the 'Plexiglas door with handle'.I'ts really hilarious.I hope people will agree.***end*** . Then the movie in all his aspects is nice shot and the actors are doing a nice job.enjoyable.Just for that 'stupid scene' it's worth.And of course not forget the ethic way of thinking of the story.But at the same time it's ignored by giving an ironic vision of what science mean to us now in biological way and is disable to handle in modern times.

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Intertaining.

8/10
Author: Henrik from Copenhagen, Denmark.
30 May 2002

First of all, I gave this movie an eight; which might be a tad generous, but I really enjoy this kind of film. It was exactly as funny as it was suposed to be, but unfortionately, not quite as clever. The topic has been covered before, but is not done with the same grace here as for instance, 'Fight club'. It bears one of the distinct marks of an independent flick. The writer and director really played around, and let their minds go. I can't say I care too much for this, since it only seems to make it more erratic. I liked this better than Being John Malkovich, which, although intriguing, was just too damn strange at times. This was kept much simpler, (no "7½th floor" or such.) and for the main part, without symbolism, and freakouts. In the end... An interresting, and funny movie about excistentialism, but not classic...

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Very Creative Material

10/10
Author: atriumarts from east coast
30 April 2002

A side-splitting comedy with underlying questions to consider.

This is not a film to fit into a ready-made slot, but so much the better. Fine performances and direction. The story line is a bit outside the box. This is the perfect summer flick.

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i wanted to like it more than i actually did

7/10
Author: soumyeah from United States
20 April 2002

i try to "support" unorthodox mainstream releases and in some ways probably inherently hold such films to a higher standard of hope/expectation. i liked a lot of silly moments in human nature and the line "when in doubt, never do what you really want to do" but never felt truly engaged- it seemed like a long trip to make a small point and none of the main characters really pulled me in. anyway-

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