The Humans review – leaves the viewer with indigestion and indignation

By Marc Miller
Published: December 1, 2021
film The Humans


The only thing The Humans evokes is viewer indigestion and indignation.

This review of the film The Humans does not contain spoilers. 

Oh, boy. The Humans may be the most overrated film I have ever seen. A monstrously boring stage-to-screen adaption that forgets they are making a film. A film that is entirely void of human beings having actual, real, honest-to-god human emotions. A film that tries to evoke a sense of powerlessness over our lives by having dinner in a house with apparent water damage issues. A film made by a playwriter wants us to feel the horror of spending a Thanksgiving dinner in a building in lower Manhattan because… there isn’t a doorman? I honestly can’t say at this point.

Let’s break this down — the film’s patriarch Erik Blake is played by Richard Jenkins, a man who keeps sputtering out nonsense on why they haven’t built their lakeshore home yet. His wife, Deirdre (Jayne Houdyshell, reprising her Tony award-winning role), is venting about how little she is paid because millennials have degrees, and she does not. It doesn’t help that they have to take care of Erik’s 90-year-old mother, Momo (June Squib), who is suffering from dementia. They have two daughters, a remarkably spoiled Brigid (Beanie Feldstein) and a recently laid-off lawyer, Aimee (Amy Schumer). They meet Richard (Steven Yeun), Brigid’s fiance, for the first time (run Richard, run now).

The Humans is like that episode of Seinfeld where nothing ever happens with exciting characters, plot points, or a sense of humor (besides a couple of well-placed Amy Schumer snarky remarks). And this is not an embellishment — nothing happens of any note until the 87-minute mark where Jenkins’s Erik Blake finally unveils what has been so painfully evident for over an hour.

Frankly, I could have filmed myself staring out a window where I could barely understand what my family was saying while they were saying something dreadfully mean. At the same time, pots and pans are in the background, which would be just as entertaining as Karam’s pompous adaptation of his play. And even a carbon copy without the millions of dollars poured into production, actors, and marketing. I could have saved the viewers millions. Most of the film’s scenes are slow walks through the house (or people silently staring out the window) as the camera looks at the house cracks and drywall bubbling beneath the surface (yes, we all get the metaphor) with a mouthful of dialogue being spewed in the background.

The only thing genuinely horrifying about The Humans (besides the hideous bathroom and a new way to use duct tape) is how torturous the experience is to sit through while the characters react in a way that is completely unrealistic when it comes to the four kinds of basic emotions such as fear, sadness, anger, or even happiness — the line about cremation that evokes a good two-minutes of laughter is preposterously lame.

The only thing The Humans evokes is viewer indigestion and indignation.

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