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Human Nature (Widescreen) (Bilingual) [Import]
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This fascinating comedy questions what we mean when we use words like "nature" and "civilization." Lila (Patricia Arquette, Lost Highway, True Romance), a nature writer who grows hair all over her body, falls in love with Nathan (Tim Robbins, The Player, The Hudsucker Proxy), a scientist attempting to teach table manners to mice. While hiking in the woods, they discover Puff (Rhys Ifans, Notting Hill), a man raised in the wild since childhood, whom Nathan seizes as a test subject for his experiments--and soon these three, along with Nathan's French lab assistant (Miranda Otto) are embroiled in criss-crossed love affairs as they (and the audience) attempt to figure out what it means to be true to one's own nature. Though Human Nature isn't as surefooted as Being John Malkovich (which was also written by distinctive screenwriter Charlie Kaufman), it has moments of startling comic genius. --Bret Fetzer
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Top Customer Reviews
It opens with a dead man, a convicted woman, and a genteel simian-man all speaking of their pasts: Lila (Patricia Arquette) became horribly hirsute when she was a teen -- by twenty, she was "Queen Kong" in a sideshow. Miserable, she retreated to the woods and became a reknowned nature writer. During electrolysis treatment some years later, a nurse offers to set her up with a desperate guy: Nathan Bronfman (Tim Robbins), a manners-obsessed scientist who is teaching them to white mice.
One day in the woods, Lila and Nathan come across a feral young man they call Puff (Rhys Ifans) -- as explained early on, Puff's father thought he was an ape, and raised his son accordingly. Now Puff is being taught the ways of humanity, as Lila tries to preserve the more primitive things about human beings -- and a warped love triangle results.
Michel Gondry and Charlie Kaufman recently collaborated on the wonderful, poignant "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind," so it's not surprising that their first joint film was also excellent. It's the sort of film that can't be easily pegged as one thing or another -- part comedy, part satire, part blinking question mark. Is it human nature to be naked and free, to be civilized and uptight, or does it lie somewhere in the middle? Are we just animals in clothes, or do humans have something more... or less? "Human Nature" doesn't answer all these questions, but it does make you think about them.Read more ›
It's a strange story of "human nature" with some hilarious bits, some extremely strange situations, and bases ALL human nature on man's urge to fornicate. (which is probably somewhat true, why do we write books, invent things, have jobs, etc?).
The main characters are Lila, Nathan and Puff. All of whom have their little intricacies. Lila (played by Arquette) is a former circus freak/nature writer, who's got a hormone problem that makes her hairy all over her body. Nathan (Robbins) is a scientist with an Obsessive Compulsive Disorder with regards to manners. Puff (Ifans) is a man raised by apes, or more specifically, andother man who THOUGHT he was an ape.
The story then works to become a love triangle, or rectangle as it may be, as well as a quirky tale of Nature versus Nurture. It's a VERY Spike Jonez feeling production and has quirkiness similar to that of Being John Malkovich, but it's a little BETTER in that it's more receptive to a larger audience.
There are some genuninely funny scenes and lines, but if you'd like to hear them or know them, you'll have to check out the movie. If you liked Being John Malkovich, you should like this movie as it's got a comparable level of quirkiness to it yet remains comically sensible. I haven't shown this movie to someone I've met who hasn't liked it, though I've noticed some terrible reviews for it. If you're not sure, check it out. It looks like you'll either love it or hate it. At least it provokes some feeling either way.
I think Charlie Kaufman is one of the most important writers writing screenplays today, and everything I've read of his (from "Being John Malkovich" to "Adaptation") had been superb, but "Human Nature" simply did not translate well from page to screen.
And I can't say that it is necessarily all Michael Gondry's fault in his direction. While, I think part of the problem is that Gondry didn't "get" the screenplay, part of the problem is that this was Kaufman's first script and while entertaining on the page, when put on screen, without the humorous writing style and Kaufman's cynical voice ... well, the filmable elements simply don't hold together.
Wait for "Adaptation" or "Confessions of a Dangerous Mind," both of which promise to be better. They could hardly be worse.
Most recent customer reviews
Everyone should see this film. It's human/social commentary. Kaufmann has such a wonderful, deep, intelligent sense of humor. Very entertaining. Read morePublished on May 29 2004 by D. Fair
This is, as usual, an amazing script by Kaufman. I wouldn't rank it as high as Eternal Sunshine...but I would rank it above Confessions of a Dangerous Mind. Read morePublished on April 12 2004 by Nathan Grant
A unique film in every sense of the word. If you enjoy Kaufman's other films, you should definitely check this out. Read morePublished on March 21 2004 by Ben Nedivi
This movie is unbelievably awful. Avoid at all costs.
Even Herzog's similarly-themed Kasper Houser is better than this, and that's not saying much. At all. Read more
Boring! Boring! Boring! So boring I almost feel asleep at 6:30pm. Instead of this snoozer, I highly recommend ICEMAN (1984). Read morePublished on March 28 2003 by James P. McDonald
This was an entertaing film, with some interesting themes. Definitely original, and quirky. I liked it. not as good as Being John..don't know about Adaptation yet.Published on Feb. 17 2003
Question the first review based on how poorly it is written. This seems like a poor person in which to take advise. Read morePublished on Jan. 3 2003
If there was a 0 star for a reating this movie would get it would get it. This movie is stupider than Kung Pow. This stupid movie isn't worth your time. Read morePublished on Dec 24 2002
I rented this movie recently betting that the many talented individuals involved would deliver an unusual and thought provoking movie. I was not disappointed. Read morePublished on Dec 20 2002
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