Stacked, impressive casts are nothing new when it comes to A24 film productions, although it’s almost a novelty at this point to see a trailer from the arthouse production company that doesn’t thrust those well-known faces into an “elevated horror” setting. Instead, The Humans looks to be a down-to-Earth and restrained family drama, taking place in a single setting over a Thanksgiving dinner as two sides of an extended family grapple with generational baggage.
The Humans is adapted from a one-act play by Stephen Karam, which opened off Broadway in 2015 and then on Broadway in 2016, where it would eventually go on to be a 2016 Pulitzer Prize finalist and the Tony winner for Best Play. The official synopsis is as follows:
At Thanksgiving, the Blake family gathers at the run-down Manhattan apartment in Chinatown of Brigid Blake and her boyfriend Richard. Brigid’s parents, Erik Blake and Deirdre Blake, arrive from their home in Scranton, Pennsylvania, to have dinner with Brigid, Richard and Aimee, their other adult daughter. Brigid is a musician and Aimee is a lawyer living in Philadelphia. Aimee has recently broken up with her girlfriend and has developed an intestinal ailment. Also present is Erik’s mother Fiona “Momo”, who has Alzheimer’s disease. The parents are unhappy that their daughters have left home and have abandoned their religion. The family members must deal with “aging, illness, and a changing economy”.
It’s probably the cast, though, that is most likely to get people excited about the film, as The Humans stars Beanie Feldstein and Steven Yeun as the Millennial couple, supported by turns from Richard Jenkins, Amy Schumer, June Squibb and actress Jayne Houdyshell, who starred in the original stage version of the play. With cinematography that feels at a glance like it truly captures the trapped sensation of both spending time with difficult family members and living in a crumbling apartment in one of the world’s most alienating cities, The Humans will strive to encapsulate modern ennui.
The Humans premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival in September, and does not have an official release date yet, but one is likely coming soon. Check out the trailer below.