TIFF 2021: “The Humans”

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Family gatherings should always be celebrated as an opportunity to bring loved ones together. During that time, no bad news, no sadness nor a single tear should come down. It is a moment of joy, happiness and unity that cannot be spoiled.

An adaption of his own Tony-winning play, Stephen Karam’s “The Humans” brings to light all the aspects of a being: fear, loneliness, anxiety and depression. It’s Thanksgiving Day; Brigid and her boyfriend, Richard, moved into a duplex in Manhattan’s Chinatown. She invites her family for Thanksgiving dinner. What turns to be a festive moment will become a day of big revelation, heartbreak and disappointment. It’s exactly the same thing most humans do.

“The Humans” is like a tagged play taking place in an apartment that would be considered creepy. Perfectly fit for a horror movie, the sounds coming from the neighbor upstairs is so scary, you will have goosebumps throughout. Everything in the film appears to be casual: cooking, talking, going up and down the stairs. All that is being accompanied by a random discussion of any subject that crosses their mind. As you watch them, you expect something horrifying to happen: a monster to jump out of the shadow, creatures hunting down whoever they catch on their way. And it will, in a way, but in a different shape and form.

With the great ensemble cast comprising Steven Yeun, Beanie Feldstein, Amy Schumer, Richard Jenkins, Jayne Houdyshell, and June Squibb, “The Humans” is a rare piece of cake you don’t want to miss trying out. The slow-burning drama steadily builds up the narrative, keeping you intense throughout as you attend the Thanksgiving dinner of a lifetime, trust me, you probably would not like repeating again. But as it does happen in most families, no one is without faults or regrets. The side effect of being human is to react to certain situations appropriately. And that’s what “The Humans” does. it does not shame; it just points out certain things we must note down for our future encounters.

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