Human Nature (2002) - Rotten Tomatoes

Human Nature (2002)



Critic Consensus: As quirky as Being John Malkovich but not as funny, Human Nature feels too forced and unengaging.

Movie Info

Video director Michel Gondry and scriptwriter Charles Kaufman -- who shot to fame after penning Being John Malkovich -- collaborate on this bizarre fable about human behavior in and out of society. The film opens by quickly introducing the three leads -- Lila (Patricia Arquette) who is locked away in prison; Puff (Rhys Ifans) who is testifying before Congress; and Nathan Bronfman (Tim Robbins) who is sitting in a glowing white afterlife waiting room with a bullet hole in his head. Rewinding to the beginning of the story, the film shows Lila as a girl about to enter womanhood. Unfortunately, puberty goes horribly awry and she starts to grow thick hair all over her body. After performing as Queen Kong in a circus freak show, she chucks it all and goes to live in the forest, where she becomes the best-selling author of a misanthropic hard-line ecological tome. At age 30, her itch for male companionship becomes overwhelming and she ventures back into the city. She is helped by electrolysis guru Louise (Rosie Perez), who not only makes Lila presentable to society, but introduces her to Nathan, a 35-year-old virgin who, as a scientist, has devoted his life to teaching table etiquette to lab mice. While showing Nathan the joys of the wild outdoors, Lila and her new beau discover an extremely hirsute feral man whom they dub Puff. Placing him a cage in his lab, Nathan sets out to teach Puff the ways of polite society while dreaming of fame and fortune. The first task is to curb Puff's enormous sexual appetite -- any time he catches sight of a female, Puff either tries to hump her or masturbates vigorously. Nathan yokes him with an electric collar that shocks him any time he acts unseemly. Unfortunately, the humans on the other side of the cage can't quite control their libidos either: Nathan succumbs to the incessant double entendres of his saucy French assistant Gabrielle (Miranda Otto) while Lila finds an animalistic lust for Nathan's science experiment. This film was screened at the 2001 Cannes Film Festival.more
Rating: R (for sexuality/nudity and language)
Genre: Drama, Romance, Comedy
Directed By:
Written By: Charlie Kaufman
In Theaters:
On DVD: Dec 10, 2002
Box Office: $0.7M
Fine Line Features - Official Site

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Tim Robbins
as Nathan Bronfman
Miranda Otto
as Gabrielle
Robert Forster
as Nathan's Father
Mary Kay Place
as Nathan's Mother
Toby Huss
as Puff's Father
Ken Magee
as Police Detective
Sy Richardson
as Police Detective
David Warshofsky
as Police Detective
Hilary Duff
as Young Lila
Bobby Harwell
as Congressman
Daryl Anderson
as Congressman
Bobby Pyle
as Young Puff
Anthony Winsick
as Wayne Bronfman
Mary Portser
as Bistro Waitress
Laura Grady Peterson
as Aversion Therapy Mod...
Angela Little Macken...
as Chester's Waitress
Jeremy Kramer
as Lecture Host
Nancy Lenehan
as Puff's Mother
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for Human Nature

Critic Reviews for Human Nature

All Critics (105) | Top Critics (34)

Although a few moments are hilarious, this would-be romp remains laboriously earthbound when it should be swinging gaily through the trees.

Full Review… | December 9, 2002
L.A. Weekly
Top Critic

Tries for both civilized wit and primitive joy -- and mostly misses both.

Full Review… | July 20, 2002
Chicago Tribune
Top Critic

The simplicity with which it depicts these [animal] forces eternally at war with each other is sometimes sublimely evocative.

Full Review… | April 26, 2002
Toronto Star
Top Critic

For all its highfalutin title and corkscrew narrative, the movie turns out to be not much more than a shaggy human tale.

Full Review… | April 26, 2002
Globe and Mail
Top Critic

[Kaufman and Gondry] dive right into the subject [of sex] to lay bare the pain of it, and to have us laugh at it.

Full Review… | September 8, 2009
Window to the Movies

Human Nature cleverly satirizes our most ridiculous- and in many ways, our most tragic- impulses, and finds a unique balance between light-hearted humor and abject farce.

Full Review… | July 2, 2008
IGN Movies

Audience Reviews for Human Nature

Shocking a load of crap this movie is, considering the amount of talent involved in it. Especially the director's and writers track record has been great, which makes you wonder what everyone was smoking doing this. They should most certainly be ashamed of themselves. Avoid at all costs, even if you like the Björk videos it mimics.

Jens S.

Super Reviewer


This movie's amateurish directing (Michel Gondry has done much, much better) and strangely stilted acting (despite some significant talent) detracts greatly from Charlie Kaufman's great, thought-provoking, deadpan script.

Sam Barnett
Sam Barnett

Super Reviewer


Its really something different. Kaufman is a genius but this direction he made for Human Nature asks a question but never fully answers it. It picks on human sexuality but never truly explores it. Its kind of an open ended question of a film.

paul o.
paul oh

Super Reviewer

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