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Human Nature Details


Video director Michel Gondry and scriptwriter Charles Kaufman -- who shot to fame after penning Being John Malkovich -- collaborate on this bizarre fable about human behavior in and out of society. The film opens by quickly introducing the three leads -- Lila (Patricia Arquette) who is locked away in prison; Puff (Rhys Ifans) who is testifying before Congress; and Nathan Bronfman (Tim Robbins) who is sitting in a glowing white afterlife waiting room with a bullet hole in his head. Rewinding to the beginning of the story, the film shows Lila as a girl about to enter womanhood. Unfortunately, puberty goes horribly awry and she starts to grow thick hair all over her body. After performing as Queen Kong in a circus freak show, she chucks it all and goes to live in the forest, where she becomes the best-selling author of a misanthropic hard-line ecological tome. At age 30, her itch for male companionship becomes overwhelming and she ventures back into the city. She is helped by electrolysis guru Louise (Rosie Perez), who not only makes Lila presentable to society, but introduces her to Nathan, a 35-year-old virgin who, as a scientist, has devoted his life to teaching table etiquette to lab mice. While showing Nathan the joys of the wild outdoors, Lila and her new beau discover an extremely hirsute feral man whom they dub Puff. Placing him a cage in his lab, Nathan sets out to teach Puff the ways of polite society while dreaming of fame and fortune. The first task is to curb Puff's enormous sexual appetite -- any time he catches sight of a female, Puff either tries to hump her or masturbates vigorously. Nathan yokes him with an electric collar that shocks him any time he acts unseemly. Unfortunately, the humans on the other side of the cage can't quite control their libidos either: Nathan succumbs to the incessant double entendres of his saucy French assistant Gabrielle (Miranda Otto) while Lila finds an animalistic lust for Nathan's science experiment. This film was screened at the 2001 Cannes Film Festival. ~ Jonathan Crow, Rovi

  • Release date:April 12, 2002


Awarded by
National Board of Review Charlie Kaufman Best Screenplay 2002 Winner


Tim Robbins
as Nathan Bronfman
Patricia Arquette
as Lila Jute
Rhys Ifans
as Puff
Miranda Otto
as Gabrielle
Robert Forster
as Nathan's Father
Mary Kay Place
as Nathan's Mother
Miguel Sandoval
as Wendall the Therapist
Toby Huss
as Puff's Father
Peter Dinklage
as Frank
Rosie Perez
as Louise
Hilary Duff
as Young Lila


Michel Gondry
Charlie Kaufman
Spike Jonze
Ted Hope
Charlie Kaufman
Tim Maurice-Jones
Graeme Revell
Composer (Music Score)
Peter Andrus
Art Director
Gene Serdena
Set Designer
Nancy Steiner
Costume Designer
Drew Kunin
Sound/Sound Designer
Jeanne McCarthy
Barney Burman
Prosthetic Makeup Effects