Film Review – The Humans (2021)

Title – The Humans (2021) 

Director – Stephen Karam (feature debut) 

Cast – Richard Jenkins, Amy Schumer, Jayne Houdyshell, Beanie Feldstein, Steven Yeun, June Squibb

Plot – During the Thanksgiving holiday, the Blake family reunite in New York City for a family dinner that unearths a number of past and present traumas. 

“Don’t you think it should cost less to be alive?”

Review by Eddie on 08/12/2022

Did you know that being a human sometimes isn’t easy? 

Over the past 12 or so months with The Humans staggered release across the global marketplace, there has been a significant groundswell of commentators calling Stephen Karam’s adaptation of his own well-regarded play a horror film, which is a gross and mis-guided sentiment to a film that is very much a talk-heavy examination of a bunch of depressed characters you will be pained to spend the films near two hours with. 

Focused around the Blake family who have reunited once more for a Thanksgiving dinner celebration at the youngster daughter Brigid’s new apartment building she shares with her partner Richard, only to find themselves discovering they in fact have very little to be thankful for over the period of the last year where each member of the Blake brigade has been caused to question their own lives as they battle various hardships in many forms and functions. 

Undoubtedly the type of film that can be an actors dream gig, with nothing more than their charisma and prowess of their craft to make the film they are in something more than the sum of its parts, The Humans does find some typical assured performances from its recognisable cast that includes the always great Richard Jenkins, rising stars Beanie Feldstein and Steven Yeun and the against type Amy Schumer but for most viewers spending time with the largely uncharismatic and depressive Blake clan may be horrific in its boredom inducing terror but it makes for a very uninspiring feature that was better off sticking to the stage arena in which it made its name. 

Touching on familiar themes of infidelity, shattered dreams and expectations, old age and the general life questions of what’s it all about? The Humans may masquerade as some type of deep thinking philosophical delight that many critics seem to jump on board with just to show how sophisticated and deep thinking they are when it comes to their consumption of films of merit but at days end it doesn’t deal with anything we can’t find and expect to come to blows with in everyday normal life and without characters we can latch onto, listening to their painful stories and quite literally being an observer to their mundane family dinner doesn’t make for quality content. 

Much like the acting there are some craftsmanship components of The Humans one can enjoy such as Karam’s eye for some nice composition and Nico Muhly’s sparingly used but effective score but that’s about as far as one can go with praise for a film that once one takes their blinkers off, one can quickly realise this is a merely a cinematic exercise in sleep inducement therapy that fails to justify its existence with any lasting messages or revelatory moments that may have made the whole arduous experience worth the energy used to stay awake throughout. 

Final Say – 

Sure to find a collection of passionate supporters that want others to discover how “deep” the film in fact is, The Humans is a painful feature film that does little to showcase why it should have ever made the jump from stage to screen. 

1 tight corridor out of 5 

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