The Humans, directed by Stephen Karam, is a film adaptation of his one-act play of the same name. It is a dark comedy with lots of family tensions, realism, and irony. The darkness of the film’s cinematography sets the tone for this haunting, and sometimes funny movie.
The Humans is set in Manhattan, in an old duplex with lots of maintenance issues. It centers on the Blake family, which include Erik, played by Richard Jenkins, Erik’s wife Deirdre, played by Jay Houdyshell, their daughter Aimee, played by Amy Schumer, and younger daughter Brigid, played by Beanie Feldstein. There is also Brigid’s boyfriend Richard, played by Steven Yeun, and grandma Momo, played by June Squibb.
The Blake family is together for the Thanksgiving holiday, but as soon as they are all together the resentments start to build, with everyone struggling to get along. The dialogue between the characters in The Humans is often a recipe for disaster, as they struggle to find peace in each other’s company, and the problems with the duplex is the source of much annoyance between the characters. The performances by Richard Jenkins and Steven Yeun, both playing self-centered, melancholy characters, probably stand out the most in the film.
I found myself enthralled at times during The Humans, but it ultimately feels like a watch once film. It is a worth it, though, for those who love play adaptations and twisted family dynamics. Three stars for The Humans.