Starring Richard Jenkins, Beanie Feldstein, Steven Yuen, Amy Schumer, Jayne Houdyshell, June Squibb,
“The Humans”, based on the award winning stage play is not only one of the best stage to screen adaptions this year, but might be the best example of mainstream genre fusion this year. Is it a Thanksgiving horror film, a comedy, a suspense drama? It’s all those things and none of them. While “The Humans” certainly wont be for every taste, it’s peculiarity and equally impressive ensemble cast are worth your time.
We meet the Blake family reluctantly joining youngest daughter Brigid (Beanie Feldstein) for Thanksgiving in hew new apartment. It’s a pre-war duplex, fixer upper, in downtown Manhattan that her father Erik (Richard Jenkins) cannot believe she is moving into. The pipes make horrible noises, she has barely moved in, and the third floor toilet is funnier than it should be.
Mom Deirdre (Jayne Houdyshell) has a lot on her mind, and her aggravation with the entire family seeps out in passive aggressive bursts. Sister Aimee (Amy Schumer) is in both career and relationship crisis, while Brigid boyfriend Richard (Steven Yeun) is the calm voice of reason when this family gets heated.
Houdyshell, who won a Tony for the same performance on Broadway, steals the film. She is supporting actress worthy if voters take the time to peel the layers of this film.
Some of the funniest moments of “The Humans”, and there are many, occur when no one is saying anything. In fact Oscar nominated June Squibb as the delusional grandmother is the perfect example. There’s as much silent acting here as there is loud, obnoxious, yet quite realistic fuming. The hilarity is juxtaposition with moments of fear, loud unexplained noises, unsightly visions of a hour repair horror.
Houdyshell, who won a Tony for the same performance on Broadway, steals the film. She is supporting actress worthy if voters take the time to peel the layers of this film. Comedian Schumer has also never been better. Her performance is a balancing act of sarcasm and emotion that we have never seen her tackle quite like this.
Equally both Jenkins and Feldstein have been stereotyped in their casting but Stephen Karam’s direction and script elevates what they bring to the table. Unlike “Gucci” there is never a dull moment here.
Ensemble of the year, The Humans plays around with genre and location space in a way thats unique and tthrilling.