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Review Roundup: THE HUMANS Film Starring Jayne Houdyshell, Beanie Feldstein, Amy Schumer, & More


See what the critics are saying about the film adaption that premiered at TIFF on September 12.

Review Roundup: THE HUMANS Film Starring Jayne Houdyshell, Beanie Feldstein, Amy Schumer, & More

The film adaption of The Humans premiered on September 12 at the Toronto International Film Festival.

The Humans was adapted from the Tony winning play of the same name. It's written/directed by Stephen Karam, who helmed the play as well. The cast includes Beanie Feldstein, Richard Jenkins, Amy Schumer, Steven Yeun, June Squibb and Jayne Houdyshell. It's a tense, intimate and occasionally funny drama with a haunting undertone throughout.

Erik Blake has gathered three generations of his Pennsylvania family to celebrate Thanksgiving at his daughter's apartment in lower Manhattan. As darkness falls outside and eerie things start to go bump in the night, the group's deepest fears are laid bare. The piercingly funny and haunting debut film from writer-director Stephen Karam, adapted from his Tony Award-winning play, The Humans explores the hidden dread of a family and the love that binds them together.

The critics have spoken...

Peter Debruge, Variety: "Plays can get away without a lot of plot, since theater is so often about spending time with interesting characters and the pleasure (or discomfort) of being in their company. I'll admit that Karam's camera strays down one too many empty hallways for my taste, but I love the patience with which he lets things unfold, the respect he shows this family, and the way these characters don't feel like characters at all, but real people - fellow humans."

David Ehrlich, IndieWire: "A prestigious screen adaptation of a Tony-winning play is just not the sort of thing that one expects to watch between their fingers, even if it stars legendary scream queens [checks notes] Beanie Feldstein, Amy Schumer, and... June Squibb? Indeed, even those familiar with Karam's widely fêted one-act may be rattled by the extent to which 'The Humans' eventually blurs the line between Chekhov and Polanski - Broadway and Blumhouse."

Frank Scheck, The Hollywood Reporter: "The acting is uniformly superb, with all the performers plumbing subtle depths and displaying a convincing familial chemistry ... But it's Houdyshell, the sole holdover from the original stage cast, who gives the film its beating, vulnerable heart. One of our most invaluable theater actresses, she's too rarely been given the opportunity to truly shine in film, and she seizes this opportunity and runs away with it."

Benjamin Lee, The Guardian: "There's something both reassuring and terrifying about it all, the family's resilient warmth and togetherness providing comfort as the existential horror of what it all amounts to chills us simultaneously. The Humans is going to haunt me and it's going to haunt you too."

Richard Lawson, Vanity Fair: "What The Humans is really about is not any one particular danger, but instead the constant gnawing of the world, the way it slowly erodes our lives until we are all rendered, essentially, into nothing. There is also a chill of a specifically American panic, born of a depressed economy and the lingering wound of September 11th. But there is nothing didactically "Here's How We Live Now" about Karam's writing; he is far more interested in psychological and emotional tenor than he is in delineating anything concrete."

Robert Abele, The Wrap: "The actors' top-notch characterizations are a matrix of fault lines and abiding love, starting with Jenkins' mix of genially judgmental bonhomie and crippling unease, and Houdyshell's sturdily epic mom-ness. Feldstein and Schumer are believable sisters with veneers of wit they hope will keep sensitivities and disappointment at bay. As sweet-natured Rich, Yeun captures the gently nervous energy of fitting in with a new family, while Squibb has to seem there but not there, and does so perfectly."

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