60-Second Review – The Humans

O&A movie columnist Mark Fields’ quick take on the latest releases

3 out of 5 stars (3 / 5)

The Humans: Acclaimed Play Makes Transition to Film

Solid performances from an accomplished cast – including Richard Jenkins, Amy Schumer, and Jayne Houdyshell — and a Tony Award/Pulitzer Prize pedigree go a long way, but ultimately they cannot redeem this stagey domestic drama. Three generations of the dysfunctional Blake family gather for Thanksgiving in the yet-to-be moved-into Chinatown apartment of younger daughter Brigid (Beanie Feldstein) and her new husband Richard (Steven Yeun). Over the course of the evening, personal traumas are revealed and long-standing resentments emerge. But it feels oh so lazy and familiar.

Director/screenwriter Steven Karam has adapted his own play for this film version, and he fills the quiet moments with distracting cutaway shots that expose the decrepitude of the down-market apartment setting, but they also accidentally serve to expose the tired clichés of the fraught family dynamic. An unexpected swerve in the direction of the supernatural (or is it?) at the end just confuses things further.

So, what do you think? Please comment below.