13 April 2002 | Eli-18
it's nice to see a movie that raises philosophical questions
'Human Nature' will inevitably be reviewed in comparison to 'Being John Malkovich', and the comments will be along the lines of 'less coherent', 'not likely to be as commercially successful', etc. But should these be reasons to NOT see this movie? Only if you want to miss the most intelligent movie to come out since BJM. Forget 'A Beautiful Mind', which gives the appearance of intelligence by flaunting pseudo-guru math, but was just another sappy tale of 'the triumph of the human spirit'.
What makes 'Human Nature' and BJM a cut above the usual cinema drivel, is that they actually attempt to get into some serious philosophical issues. BJM delves into personal identity, while 'Human Nature' digs even deeper into the realm of our underlying... human nature. What makes human nature any better than animal nature? civilization? language? manners? And do these distinctly human features actually make us better, or just different, or different in a bad way... i.e. by making us lead dual lives, tearing our originally united being into inharmonious halves (subjective/objective)? And can we simply unite our duplicitousness by forgetting language, civilization, and manners... by returning to nature? Or, with a philosopher who gets an intensional nod in 'Human Nature', Wittgenstein, are we stuck in language, forever banished from the garden of eden?
This movie raised all of these questions, and more, for me... which is what I expect out of a good movie: not only does it entertain us, but it invites us to join in the entertaining. By posing these questions, it challenges us to answer them, and to ask our own questions of it... which means that we have to see it again in order for it to continue the dialogue. Now that's what I call interactive movie-going. Philosophy has started some great stuff in history: religion, government, science. So I think that's its not asking too much for movies to engage in philosophical debates and trying to include the audience, rather than thinking of the audience as fodder for the box office.