Human Nature

2002 "In the Interest of Civilization … Conform."
6.4| 1h36m| R| en| More Info
Released: 12 April 2002 Released
Producted By: Fine Line Features
Country: United States of America
Budget: 0
Revenue: 0
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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.

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Imdbidia An enjoyable thought-provoking film with a bunch of great ideas, as once can expect from the combo Kauffmam & Gondry, but not as well grounded, mixed and presented as in other collaborations of the pair. This is a movie that explores human nature through the concept of noble savage and its reverse.The main question posed is, What is natural to humans? What makes us humans, Culture or instinct? To exemplify what is natural or unnatural to humans, sex is used as a medium of exploration. Through the sexual behavior of the different characters -all of them very different in personality and upbringing- we see who they really are and what is common to all of them.The ideas and concepts explored in the film are fascinating and presented in a light way. The contradictions of human behavior and spirit are very well depicted. We see how Culture and instinct intertwine in an unnatural way, how the instinct is tamed and masked to allow itself to express, and when it does express, it does so in an unnatural way.For example, the role of savage Puff is taught to repress his sexual urges in public as a non-acceptable human behavior, but then we see that doing that with prostitutes, for money, in a sub-world, is accepted and not considered unnatural, when in fact it is. At the same time, Nathan, the scientist training Puff, is obsessed with the importance of manners as a characteristic element of human civilization, but then he craves wild sex and cheats on his girlfriend giving way to his most basic sexual urges while he, at the same time, is telling Puff to repress his.Another good exploration, not that usual in movies where the noble savage is a theme, is the retraining "backwards" of the savage, from civilized to savage to be natural and human again. That's perhaps the most original exploration in the movie.The acting is OK in general. I though that Patricia Arquette is good and believable in her role as Lila, a weirdo lonely writer who craves love and spiritual connection. However, I thought the best of the bunch was Miranda Otto, in her brilliant interpretation of Gabrielle, a raunchy naughty scientist fake-French assistant. She's so funny in her role! I liked the fake 60s images of the characters' childhood, the super-cute experiments and images with the mice learning to eat with forks, and the scenes of Natham in "heaven".The end is unexpected and shocking, and shows again, how this story is not moralistic, and how it is in human nature not to be natural and natural at the same time.So, you'd be asking by now, why all these good elements make me rate the movie with just a 6.5. That's because there is not one element that amalgamates all the good philosophical elements of the film to turn it into something memorable and easy to understand for everybody. The dialogs are poor. The comedy is not comic enough most of the time. The viewer can get lost in what he/she sees, and not in the good bits of the movie. There is not a moving strong love story either, sex being the main subject of the movie. Moreover, the movie has this kitsch atmosphere that is not everybody liking; yes, it is comic, but it is still kitsch and sometimes even cheesy.I still enjoyed the movie as it is entertaining and thought-provoking, which is more of what most movies do nowadays.
pmdawn 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 is9/10
Pablo Picasso 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".
jzappa I am not happy that Human Nature is as underrated as it is. Charlie Kaufman is, bar none, the most brilliant screenwriter in the world. In the world. His other films being contemporary classics, this as well as Confessions of a Dangerous Mind are not considered amongst Being John Malkovich, Adaptation, and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. Confessions is in my top 10 favorite movies, and Human Nature does not leave anything to be desired. In any Kaufman script, you will find a tremendously acute portrayal of life through the perspective of a great thinker. Kaufman has more depth, more fixed mental clarity, than most other writers in general. Human Nature, while being the only one of his movies that is a straight comedy, is no different in that respect.It is fantastically entertaining as a comedy, keen as a social observation, and its cast provides performances that are among the most intriguing, sensitive, hilarious and arresting of their careers, subtle or not. Michel Gondry, the director, is pre-Eternal Sunshine, and is perhaps still honing his craft in terms of making a feature-length film. Eternal Sunshine is his masterpiece, but directorially, Human Nature is part of the latter stages of his warm-up period.Human Nature is another one of those buried treasures that flies below the radar, and when people hear of it or see an ad for it, they mistake it for one of the movies that deservedly flies below the radar, waving it off saying, "Well, if it's not that big a hit, then it must not be that good." Don't make the mistake of passing this one up. It is one of the most inventive and intelligently funny comedies you'll ever see.