6 user 3 critic

The Human Experiment (2013)

Not Rated | | Documentary | 17 April 2015 (USA)
1:59 | Trailer
A documentary that explores chemicals found in everyday household products.


Don Hardy, Dana Nachman


Dana Nachman


Sean Penn





Credited cast:
Sean Penn ... Narrator


A documentary that explores chemicals found in everyday household products.

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

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real life | See All (1) »


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Not Rated | See all certifications »

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An agenda-driven, rather than fact-driven, polemic.
21 April 2014 | by Lowbacca1977See all my reviews

This had the distinct feeling of the exact same sort of slick misuse of words that I would expect from any film put together by someone trying to obfuscate a topic in order to ram through an agenda. The largest point was the clear misframing of points by the narration, including the complete avoidance of nuances that some people that were interviewed clearly did show.

The film interchangeably talks about the dangers of chemicals, the dangers of cancer-causing chemicals, and the dangers of artificial chemicals, as though it has no understanding that all things are chemicals, that many chemicals it uses as examples of health risks are, in fact, naturally-occurring, and that amounts of exposure do matter. It becomes quite clear that some people interviewed are aware of this and only discuss toxic chemicals, but the narration in the film, especially early on when context is being established, fails to do so.

There's also some very suspicious handling of data, providing some data and then stating that there are exceptions that strengthen their case, again a tactic of the film, not those interviewed. There's also some concerning discussion, like discussions on autism that sound very suspiciously like the arguments that come from long-since discredited anti-vaccination proponents about chemicals and autism (discussions like not wanting children to 'develop' autism). As they are generally arguing against the scientific consensus in some cases, this also sounds concerningly like the same anti-science conspiracy arguments that come from anti-vaccine proponents, creationists, climate-change deniers, and tobacco companies (the last being particularly ironic).

For what could be a very interesting topic, it's clearly pushed blindly to further an agenda rather than actually examine the issues in question. Rather than trying to present facts and letting the audience process it all, they simply through every allegation they have, often allegations that are contradictory, and many of which run counter to available data when followed up on. It's a film that seems founded on lies and deceit conveyed in a slick presentation in an attempt to hide an agenda that utterly sabotages any attempt to take a real and serious look at what sorts of exposures we face to various chemicals, and it'a a shame that they so willingly undercut the significance of the topic like this.

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Release Date:

17 April 2015 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Human Experiment See more »

Filming Locations:

Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

KTF Films See more »
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