Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
Actors: Guillermo Toledo, Marián Aguilera, María Botto, Fernando Ramallo, Norma Aleandro
Directors: Dominic Harari, Teresa Pelegri
Genres: Indie & Art House, Comedy, Drama
When leni comes home to introduce her fiance rafi to her idiosyncratic jewish family everything goes smoothly until the lovers belatedly reveal that rafi is palestinian. When rafi escapes to the kitchen he drops frozen sou... more »
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"Can't We All Just Get Along!"
B. Merritt | WWW.FILMREVIEWSTEW.COM, Pacific Grove, California | 03/28/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"ONLY HUMAN explores prejudice, but not on a worldly scale. Instead it focuses on one family and how their past and present attitudes may eventually spell out their futures. And it's damn funny.
Dealing with the Palestinian/Israeli equation is touchy at the best of times, but laughing at it is something most probably don't even think about.
When an Israeli Jew brings home her fiancé, it's usually a time for celebration. So when Leni (Marian Aguilera, THE RECKONING), the daughter of a nice Jewish family, brings home her future husband, one would think it'll spark smiles and joy. But Leni's man Rafi (Guillermo Toledo) shows up on her parents' doorstep with her and we immediately know there are going to be ...uh ...problems. He's a Palestinian and he's ducking into the den of a practicing Jewish family.
Usually this type of set up would spark dramatic elements but here we're given a hilarious take on one family and how they come to grips with their daughter's choice. Not only that, but Rafi has to come to terms with an accident that may have killed Leni's father.
Getting ready for dinner, Rafi is introduced to this rather wacky family. There's the nymphomaniac sister, a blind, gun-toting grandfather, the overly-religious brother, and the protective mother. Leni's father is supposed to show up for the dinner but is late for some reason. Leni's younger sister (the nympho) believes their father is having an affair, but only Rafi really knows what may have happened to him. While taking the evening's soup out of the freezer, Rafi accidentally drops it out the kitchen window, and the frozen block falls several stories before landing on someone's head; Leni's dad? No. It couldn't be, could it? Now another Palestinian has possibly killed a Jew, this time with a new weapon!
Rafi and Leni must contend with their own inherent prejudices while trying to save their future, and prevent the evening from disintegrating into a quagmire of misunderstandings.
The comedy is both in the dialogue and physical. Rafi tries to find out what's happening to the man below who's head was bashed by the frozen soup. He goes into the bathroom and peers out its window. In the meantime, Leni's grandfather (blind) lumbers in to take a pee, and Rafi gets into an unusual position on the toilet in order to avoid being discovered by Grandpa.
This is a refreshing story that brings high marks for comedy into a realm not normally reserved for such things. The only downside is that the dialogue is sometimes rapid and for those who don't speak Spanish (the movie was shot in Spain), it's often times difficult to read the subtitles and keep up with the action onscreen. Otherwise this is an excellent flick."
Brendan M. Howard | Kansas, USA | 10/31/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Only Human is a Spanish-language Meet the Parents that has the courage to go for Royal Tenenbaums weirdness and higher stakes instead of routine setups and gags.
In Only Human, the nervous fiancé, Rafi, is caught in a variety of compromising positions as he meets his soon-to-be family for the first time, but the tension is based in reality. Rafi is Palestinian, and his fiancée, Leni, is Jewish. When blind grandpa swings his old Israeli army rifle around the room, Rafi has legitimate reason to be fearful if grandpa finds out he's a Muslim. When Rafi accidentally drops a block of frozen soup out the window, it might be his lover's dad he snuffed out on the sidewalk below. Only the lightness of the film, the believable reactions of the characters and the understandable craziness of the Jewish Spanish family keep these moments from becoming nerve-racking.
Audiences will believe mom's changing emotions, dad's heck of a concussion, Rafi's palpable nervousness, and the sibling rivalry between Leni and her prettier sister that blooms into a fight of break-up proportions by film's end. Audiences will believe Leni's newly religious brother would put a duck in the toilet.
Only Human is only held back from great success on DVD because it's not in English. Here's hoping audiences will give subtitles a chance for this one.
DVD Extras: None.
-- Brendan Howard
Blue Coronet | east coast | 10/21/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I saw Only Human at the local independent cinema, thinking it might be amusing. Turns out it is a very funny Spanish film and I laughed so much, I had tears coming out of my eyes at times. The plot involves a daughter bringing her boyfriend/fiance home to meet her Jewish/Spanish family for the first time. If you crossed Charlie Chaplin & Lena Wertmueller and asked them to write a film about a Spanish-Jewish family, this is what you might get. One of the funniest films I've seen in years. Check it out!"
The Gun in the First Act
Liam Wilshire | Portland, OR | 01/18/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Here is a screamingly funny post-9/11 comedy originating from a country where factional violence and terrorism are no joke. It substitutes an engaged couple--consisting of a Spanish Jew and a Palestinian man--for the couples divided by social class in classic Hollywood screwball comedies (which it resembles a great deal). Blended into the mix is the type of tightly-paced commedia del arte practiced by Moliere. Everything is ratcheted up a notch by the archetypal Latin temperaments of its characters, making ONLY HUMAN, to coin a phrase, a nearly perfect "screwball comedy of manners."
Rafi, the Palestinian, has to meet the fiancee's Jewish family: the neurotic mother, the shell-shocked grandpa, the nymphomaniac sister, the faddishly-Orthodox teenage brother, and the baby sister, who is the sole witness to an act of terrorism that involves a block of frozen soup falling from a third-story window onto a hapless passer-by. Grandpa, meanwhile, demonstrates that even though he is blind and half-deaf, he can still load a rifle in record time.
The question propelling the plot is, "Where's Papa?" Insecurities among the characters gather steadily into a perfect storm that swirls with sight gag after brilliant sight gag. I don't want to give away the ending, but let's just say it involves projectile vomiting, a chase to Dad's office, lovers caught in flagrante delicto, and a convalescent baby duck gone missing. Oh, and, true to Chekhov's Law, the firearm introduced in the beginning goes off in the Third Act, with hilarious consequences.
The antics are well-supported by a score reminiscent of Nino Rota's best work for Fellini. Guillermo Toledo, as Rafi, is a stand-out, even among this wonderful cast--his face registers the comic pain of a man who has been cast in a role he cannot escape. The harder he tries, the more he reinforces the stereotypes he must somehow cope with.
Howard Hawks, director of some of the best American screwball comedies, once summed up the definition of a good film in six words: "Three great scenes; no bad scenes." I nicked one star from my rating for a scene that almost violates the second clause. Still, no movie in recent memory has made me laugh so hard and so often, and for that all is forgiven."