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Human Nature
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Reviews & Ratings for
Human Nature More at IMDbPro »

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Delightfully refreshing comedy

8/10
Author: AlgisKuliukas from Perth, Australia
19 July 2003

I didn't take this film very seriously and thought it was a delight. Some of the scenes and lines were just hillarious (like the one which ended with Puff's "Woopee!" at the promise of more desert after having his natural sexual urges zapped out of him for the past half hour. If you let go of any notion of plausibility and just go with its crazy story line I think anyone with a wacky sense of humour will like it too.

I have to add just one point of fact to correct a line which just irritated me when Nathan's father told his son that pygmy chimps are the closest relatives to humans and sort of implied that it was because we only had one chromosome less than they do. Actually all four types of great apes: common chimps (Pan troglodytes), bonobos or pygmy chimps - the species Puff thought he was growing up as - (Pan paniscus), gorilla (Gorilla sp.) and orang-utan have the same (48) number of chromosomes whereas humans have 46. The reason Pan (both chimps and bonobos actually) are said to be closer to humans than the other apes is because they have fewer genic (that is informational, or base-pair) differences in the genes inside those chromsomes... ...but, hey, it's no biggie.

Algis Kuliukas

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Tim Robbins best movie in years

8/10
Author: Linnéa Lundblad from Göteborg, Sweden
15 August 2002

A movie about Lila (Patricia Arquette), a young woman with exessive body hair, who decides to live her life in the wild. Lila writes many succesfull books and enjoys her life as one with nature very much, but the longing for love makes her go back to the civilisation. There she tries to fit in by getting rid of all her hair and going out with a man, Dr Nathan (Tim Robbins). He is trying to teach table manners to mice, and even though this seems unatural and wrong to Lila, she countinues to date him.

During a walk in the woods the cuople discover an ape man, who has been living totally cut of from civilsation. Nathan decides to teach the ape man manners, which Lila finds horrible but she doesn't say anything about it. Dr Nathan and his french assistant Gabrielle names the ape man Puff, after Gabrielle's puppy dog she had as a child. Soon sparks fly, and Nathan and Gabrielle start an affair...

This movie is definatly worth seing at least once (if not twice) 'cause it's so funny and charming. It has some real great jokes, and it's always nice to Tim Robbins in a "cute" part. A great script, great actors and yet it wasn't such a big success. I blame the PR!

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

The best film in years

10/10
Author: Ben Kay from london, england
18 March 2002

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.

More, please.

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

A masterpiece!

9/10
Author: Igor Nikolaus Oehman from Taeby, Sweden
13 February 2002



This film is a soufflé. It has no moral, meaning or will to write you anything om your nose. Nor is it funny in the traditional "joke" way. Still, it is very intelligent and let all viewers contemplate, be amused, inspired and be surprised.

The music in this film is superb. A masterpiece of a composition, of compositions! I loved every piece of music in it! both the ones meant to be noticed and the ones meant not to be... And the small musical-scene in the forest made one of the happiest moments of my movie going life. A complete surprise and just enough to lift the movie goer to a high enough "frolic level" to enjoy the rest film to the max.

I even thought Patricia Arquette was very sexy with hair all over! Maybe woman should shave less? Babys are hairless, and very unsexy.

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Smart and funny

Author: rob dekoch (dekoch-2) from San Francisco
7 June 2001

Similar to Being John Malcovich (same Writer) but bound to recieve less comercial success. That's a shame because although this movie may lack coherence compared to BJM, it's still full of amazing ideas and takes you to places you've never been before.

The cast is up to the challenge, especially Arquette who is as charming as ever in her role as a codependant hirsute Nature writer. Mary Kay Place, who was briliant in BJM, is good with her small role as is given.

If you want to be barraged by brilliant ideas even if all ends don't get tied up neatly, see it. After seeing so many dumb imperfect movies, it's nice to see a smart one.

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2 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Hirsute lady and ape boyfriend drifting in nature & society

1/10
Author: dierregi from Belgium
21 October 2011

The story goes as follows: a beautiful hirsute blonde, named Lila and played by Arquette, upset by her work experience in a circus' freak show, runs away from society and becomes a famous writer. However, due to sexual urges, she decides to undergo painful (and extremely lengthy) electrolysis on her whole body, to find a sexual partner.

During what one can only imagine as extremely tedious and painful epilation sessions, her beautician mentions a screwed-up scientist, who no woman in her right mind could possibly find attractive. For mysterious reasons, Lila is intrigued, met him and falls in love. Unfortunately, electrolysis having not worked its miracles yet, Lila must continue shaving her body regularly. She is keeping her condition a secret and when she moves in with scientist boyfriend Nathan – played by an unbearable Tim Robbins – her secret becomes hard to keep.

At this stage, the weird couple runs into a wild ape-man (named Puff) and they decide to take him back to Nathan's lab and train him to behave. It must be noted that the main experiment carried out by Nathan was teaching rats to use the correct fork while eating sitting at a table. Honestly, you cannot make this stuff up…

After some idiotic antics involving a slutty lab assistant, Lila gets dumped because her body hair is still not completely gone. So she kidnaps Puff and moves back into the forest, to live naked and happily hereafter with the ape-man.

Unfortunately Nathan decides he wants Lila back, despite having moved in with the slutty lab assistant. Tragedy ensues, but honestly who cares? Not a single one of these characters has any lovable (or believable) feature. Starting from the hairy Lila (why would any actress play this part is beyond my understanding), to the sadistic Nathan who wants to teach rats how to use forks, not to mention ape-man Rhys Ifans, afflicted by serious masturbatory problems.

The last - but foremost - question I have is the same asked by another reviewer: how does stuff like this get financed? Seriously, who wants to invest in this type of material?

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2 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

The question on all of our minds:

7/10
Author: TxCracker from Houston
8 June 2003

After perusing the other viewers' comments on this site and noting the plethora of pertinent sociological questions that arise from the viewing of this obviously intellectual piece of cinematography, I can't help but notice that the most obvious question of all has not yet been touched upon, therefore, I will ask it now.

If you were locked in a room with Patricia Arquette and an electric grooming shear, would you shave her body before making love to her?

Maybe the reason this question has not yet been asked is because the answer is so obvious it pretty much goes without saying. That answer is, of course, no. If you were to buzz-cut Ms. Arquette's body with such a tool, you would, without any doubt, leave a stubble that would be rough and scratchy, causing you so much discomfort during the act of intercourse that the whole experience would inevitably become somewhat unpleasant, relatively speaking.

Leaving her hairy, on the other hand, would give you the sensation that you were rolling around with a large, fluffy dog...a feeling which could only add a new measure of pleasure to the whole coital experience. This should not be construed as bestiality, being that the "fluffy-dog" sense of pleasure would be separate from the "doing Patricia" feeling of prurient ecstasy, which means the whole scenario could be pulled off guilt-free.

That would be superb, especially for me, being that I have been totally hot for this particular actress ever since I saw her in True Romance. I would be happy to be in bed with her even if she was a toothless quadruple-amputee covered with hair from her head all the way down to her...uh, never mind.

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4 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

A very crude, slow and unstructured journey

Author: Katherine Brodsky (editor@modamag.com) from Canada
4 July 2002

"Human Nature" is a comedy written by "Being John Malkovich's" Charlie Kaufman and it doesn't fail to carry the distinct aroma of his previous film. The film explores our so-called "primal urges" and our need to live naturally with deep consideration of those urges.

Patricia Arquette plays Lila Jute, a human naturist who has a little problem. She is suffering from a hormonal balance that causes her to be abnormally covered with body hair. While this does not pose much of a concern for her personally, it does for everyone else and more specifically, men. After getting fed up with the world, she decided to live in the forest amongst the animals and write best-selling nature books. However the animal in her begins to miss the precious company of men and so she returns to civilization. Lila shaves her body hair and begins a somewhat odd relationship with Nathan Bronfman (Tim Robbins). Nathan happens to be an etiquette scientist who tries to teach mice and Lila table manners. One day, Lila and Nathan come across an untamed man (Rhys Ifans) who was raise by a father who believed himself to be a monkey. That man is later nicknamed Puff. The Puff creature happens to be the perfect subject for Dr. Nathan Bronfman as he changes Puff's wild ways to more more cultivated conduct. Lila is left torn between lying about her "human nature" or embracing her urges and running wild.

Perhaps I'm as prude as Tim Robbins's character, however there is no appreciation of the refined gross-out humor in my sight. It appears as though the crude humor found its way into the movie for no reason other than the fact it could. Luckily the film makes up for that in very unique cinematography. The interesting camera angles and settings take away a bit from the numerous unnecessary masturbation jokes and bodily fluid gags. There were many other ways that such a creative team of filmmakers could have coped with them in a more substantial manner and prevented their detraction of the finer aspects of the movie.

The finer aspects of the film include the brilliant acting from some of the somewhat less familiar faces in Hollywood. Actress Patricia Arquette creates a character that is believable, originative and daring. She inhibits Lila with great ease and manages to push all the right buttons to make her tick just the right way. Rhys Ifans fills Puff's shoes with more content than expected. While he is able to add much to the film due to his comedic nature, there are a few points in the film where Rhys is able to show even greater depth. Both actors make great counterparts.

At times obscene and at others strange, the comedy manages to tackle some more thought-provoking issues, outside of humping. "Human Nature" discusses issues of evolution, the human desire to blend in and what it really is that makes us human. It walks through a somewhat slow and unstructured journey that imprints the difference between civilization, monkeys and mankind.

Despite its charms, "Human Nature" is not what it could have been. It does not live up to its potential because the filmmakers decided to make too many hollow & irrelevant stops and too few truly important ones. In the end, "Nature" is daring, well acted, unique, intelligent in spirit and very very crude.

Grade: C

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0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

How do we differ from other animals?

8/10
Author: L. Denis Brown (ldbrown1@shaw.ca) from Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada
23 July 2010

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Most films, other than remakes, originate when a film studio commissions a writer to prepare an outline script and suggest a treatment for adapting some best selling book to movie form. Indie Directors may work quite closely with a script-writer of their choice right from the start and this gives the procedure a better chance of ultimate success; but too often the storyline for a book that one may read over a period of days or weeks is almost incompatible with the requirements of a two hour movie. Charlie Kaufman was a script writer who learned this the hard way, and who has since become respected by cinema-goers throughout the world for the very challenging original scripts that he has created. "Human Nature" was the second of these; but to better appreciate its unusual structure and meaning, it is helpful to first take a birds eye look at what his works are typically about. He learned his trade working for television, often episodes of established serials, and then amazed the cinema world by writing a new and very different script which became the enormously successful film "Being John Malkovich". This was so bizarre that it is almost impossible to describe before it has been viewed, but essentially it features the concept of a number of different individuals sharing the same personality simultaneously. I am amazed (although very grateful) that it was able to attract investors and actually reach the screen. Its success showed there is an unsatisfied demand for films which make us think deeply about our own nature, and it helped Kaufman to write and co-produce "Human Nature" (2001). This perhaps remains his most ambitious film, and is the first I am commenting on for IMDb, but a overview of all his works remains helpful when considering any Kaufman film. 1992 brought a semi-autobiographical film in which he clearly outlined his approach to preparing a film-script. Columbia had film rights to Susan Orlean's book "The Orchid Thief" and had commissioned him to prepare a film-script. After months of work he was convinced this lengthy and rambling book could not be effectively condensed into the span of a movie. With considerable trepidation he submitted a fictional script based on his struggle to create a work of art, but contrasting this with that of an imaginary twin brother who became rich by shamelessly churning out scripts for stereotyped action thrillers. To his relief this script was accepted and became the film "Adaption" in which Kaufman explores the conflict so many experience between artistic, commercial or scientific integrity and financial gain. By this stage he had gained a cult reputation for scripts which examined what it was in human nature that could sometimes raise humanity above, and sometimes force it below, the level of other animals. His later films, including "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind" (which examines the implications of an ability to selectively erase specific memories) or "Synecdoche, New York" (with many targets including formal religion and the need to exploit every chance for personal fulfilment during life) have only added to this. Cinema-goers may love his films or hate them, but few will remain indifferent.

To those who have not seen any of his films the only sensible recommendation is -Try one. This lengthy introduction should give some idea what to expect. The most conventional is probably "Adaption" but I would suggest "Human Nature" because, whilst not the most profound, it is among the most comprehensive in its chosen targets and yet it does not seem overloaded or obtuse, also it includes a great deal of deliberate comedy which maintains both interest and enjoyment. The story involves a young woman, unhappy with her hirsute appearance, who abandons society and reverts to nature; but also writes a very successful book about her experiences which finances her to return to have her problem corrected.. She then becomes mutually attracted to a nerdish repressed scientist struggling to teach mice good manners. On a field trip they encounter a youth brought up in the forest as an ape by a father who threw up a good job in order to revert to nature. They take him back to the laboratory too see how easy it will be to teach him normal human manners. Much of the film is devoted to the strong pulls he experiences both towards his new cultured life and back to his previous uncontrolled environment. These of course become particularly severe when he becomes involved with young women. Such sequences bring out a favourite Kaufman theme - the necessity for personal fulfilment if one is to avoid mental breakdown.

This summary does little to explain the charm of the film, but to say much more would spoil it. It discusses a wider range of issues than most of his works, has an easy to follow story and is full of very amusing sequences; so I would have expected it to be the most popular. Instead it's IMDb rating (currently 6.9) is lowest. I cannot help wondering why; but Patricia Arquette as Lila (the hirsute young lady hero) displayed her unusual although not unattractive fur covering during several of the earlier sequences in the forest, explaining why it is R rated only in US theatres, so we can suspect the widespread North American distrust of any displays of nudity in films. Maybe there are other reasons that I did not notice, but I would be interested to know if it was also less successful in Europe where nudity is less of a concern.

One big question remains: How many other script-writers have also created outstanding stand-alone scripts they have never been able to bring into production?

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0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Humans are weird

8/10
Author: pmdawn
12 December 2008

As a fan of Charlie Kaufman's works (and Gondry's as well) I was missing out on this movie big time. That's because I was initially put off by the description and most reviews which consider this a lesser movie. Well, they were wrong - this is an excellent movie on its own right.

"Human Nature" is an extremely ironic and realistic movie in an exaggerated sort of way. Granted, it's not for everyone - there's a lot of semi-nudity (very light stuff), sexual tension and a story that requires you to think a little bit.

Actually, that's a lie - this movie has layers upon layers of symbolism, and that's just half the fun. The main characters are well thought-out and have their 'peculiarities' (like all humans do) taken to the extreme, which serve to illustrate the point further. And the execution is brilliant, with Kaufman's usual non-linearity - you never know exactly what's going to happen.

The casting is perfect. Great acting all around, and Rhys Ifans in particular does a marvelous job here. You can also spot Hillary Duff as a younger Lila.

And finally, pay close attention to ending. Hilarious. My vote is

9/10

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