Daily Archives: April 9, 2002

Human Nature

Charlie Kaufman, the screenwriter of Being John Malkovich, tries for something equally wacky, in a comedy purporting to be about civilized and uncivilized behavior. A woman (Patricia Arquette) with a hormonal disorder that causes her to grow large amounts of body hair becomes a recluse living in the forest and writing about nature. Later she gets involved with a stunted scientist (Tim Robbins) who’s reduced by his own upbringing to teaching table manners to lab mice, and both link up with a feral man (Rhys Ifans) the scientist wants to civilize. All this leads to a lot of easy laughs as well as to declining narrative interest; the characters remain stuck in their cliche profiles, and the directionby music video specialist Michel Gondrydoesn’t improve matters. The castwhich also includes Miranda Otto, Rosie Perez, Robert Forster, and Mary Kay Placedoes pretty well with the limited material. 96 min. (JR)… Read more »


Writer-director John McKay’s first feature is a charming comedy drama about three women friends in rural Englandthe American headmistress of a private school (Andie MacDowell), a spiky and much divorced physician (Anna Chancellor), and a somewhat older divorced police inspector (Imelda Staunton) with a grown sonwho get together regularly to smoke, drink gin, eat chocolate, and bitch. Their bonds are tested when the headmistress becomes involved with a former student (Kenny Doughty) and the other two disapprove. There aren’t many movies that deal with middle-aged women, and this one manages to do so with a fair amount of wit and heart. With Bill Paterson. 112 min. (JR)… Read more »