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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. —Anonymous
Odd little story from Kaufman
This is further proof that writer Charlie Kaufman is probably the most unique writer in show business and he's developing into quite the cult figure. This odd story is about a woman named Lila (Patricia Arquette) who's body is covered with hair and at the age of 20 she retreats into the wilderness to hide and she writes nature books to make ends meet. But after some time she decides to leave and get electro-dialysis because she gets horny. Her friend hooks her up with a shy and repressed scientist named Nathan (Tim Robbins) and they hit it off. Then while on a nature walk they discover a man (Rhys Ifans) living in the wilderness who thinks he's an ape. They take him back to Nathan's lab where he is going to teach him to be human. Only Kaufman could come up with such a ridiculous story and make it redeemable. The film is directed by Michel Gondry who is known for directing several of Bjorks videos and he makes his feature film debut here. I think the film works because Kaufman makes sure the viewer is not to take this seriously but at the same time the humor is not presented in an over the top way like some cheap attempt at laughs. The humor is more dry witted and it reminded me a little of something Albert Brooks might have thought of. Another thing I enjoyed was the performance of Arquette. She's the core of this film and it should remind everyone that she is able to carry a film by herself and that she's a very underrated actress. I've always been a big fan of hers and she's just not used in films enough. She does appear nude but she seems fine with it and she should, she looks great. The film wants to ask the question about sex and the difference between humans and animals and the environment we are all brought up in. When the film was over I wasn't sure what to make of it but once I found out that Charlie Kaufman wrote the script an immediate smile came across my face. Knowing he was behind this odd comedy seems to make all the sense in the world!
- Jun 24, 2003
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