Human Nature

cast: Patricia Arquette, Rhys Ifans, Tim Robbins, Miranda Otto, and Rosie Perez

director: Michel Gondry

92 minutes (15) 2001
Pathé VHS rental or retail
Also available to rent or buy on DVD
[released 4 August]

RATING: 8/10
reviewed by Mike Philbin

A simple tale of boy meets girl, boy loses girl; girl is a monkey.
No, it’s a simple tale of boy is brought up as a monkey, scientist trains manners back into boy, girl is a monkey.
No, let’s start at the beginning – behavioural scientist Nathan (Robbins) confesses his sorry life in a stark white room from which he can never escape. There is a hole in his head to match the hole in his moral fibre. He is a believer in manners and good etiquette. This is one parent-tortured, repressed freak of a man. One of the funnier scenes in the movie is Nathan’s adopted seven-year-old ‘brother’ hitting it off with his doting lab-assistant girlfriend.
Ah, it’s a wacky ride. You’ve got Lila (Arquette), a true ape woman who has to constantly shave away at her flesh despite years of painful electrolysis. You’ve got Puff (Ifans) who was brought up as a monkey in the woods. You’ve got the clearly insane Nathan (Robbins).

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This movie is odd – but in a wonderful way. It is billed as comedy. And from the first scenes, you are in no doubt that this is a humorous piece. It is well written in the ghastly, satirical manner by Charlie Kaufman.
Although it loses comedic focus through the third quarter, becoming unnecessarily morbid, the movie is a riot and ends well.
Get this and laugh yourself silly.