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Parents' Guide to

The Humans

By Tara McNamara, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 14+

Ho-hum holiday "horror" dramedy has mature themes, drinking.

Movie R 2021 108 minutes
The Humans Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 16+

Based on 1 parent review

age 16+

Time Wasted

The viewer’s expectations of a climactic ending are never realized. I wanted to care about this family but their psychological and medical monsters drove me away. The addition of spooky noises and ugly walls spoke only of the need for a handyman and plumber. Baking Thanksgiving cookies would have been a better use of my time. Young adults will wonder why they watched this depressing movie.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (1 ):
Kids say (2 ):

The Humans took home the Tony Award for Best Play in 2016, but great theater doesn't always translate into a great movie. This adaptation isn't likely to entertain teens or most adults, but there are still elements that deserve praise. Playwright Stephen Karam adapts his own stage production, which all takes place in one space, and makes it as visually dynamic as possible. The performances are easy and natural, with characters delivering dialogue that sounds like they're living it instead of saying brilliantly crafted words. Noises jolt and echo through Brigid and Richard's "new place," a pre-war apartment that's dilapidated, where plaster bulges from decades-old leaks, hallways are tight, and windows are clouded from age and grime. What we see has great authenticity, but it's not a story, it's voyeurism.

We're watching the Blake family on a "typical" Thanksgiving. We're the flies on the wall, hearing the gregarious dinner-table talk, seeing the sisters whispering in a side room, resting on Amie's (Schumer) shoulder while she's on the toilet in her many colitis-induced bathroom breaks. We're trapped with them inside a haunted house where the real ghosts are the secrets haunting each family member, waiting for the moment to escape and deliver a scare to the rest of the family. But nothing actually happens here, including personal growth. Those who enjoy the theater may appreciate the nuances in seeing this one-act play brought to the big screen. But most, especially younger audiences, will give thanks if they skip it.

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