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The Human Face
The Human Face
Actors: John Cleese, David Attenborough, Candice Bergen, Pierce Brosnan, Mali Finn
Directors: David Stewart, James Erskine
Genres: Drama, Television
NR     2001     3hr 20min

This 4 part bbc series examines the science behind facial beauty expression and fame in an entertaining fashion. Studio: Warner Home Video Release Date: 02/22/2005 Starring: John Cleese (host) Pierce Brosnan Run time: ...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: John Cleese, David Attenborough, Candice Bergen, Pierce Brosnan, Mali Finn
Directors: David Stewart, James Erskine
Creators: John Cleese, David Stewart, James Erskine, Michael J. Mosley, Nancy Lavin, Nicholas Rossiter
Genres: Drama, Television
Sub-Genres: Drama, Television
Studio: BBC Warner
Format: DVD - Color,Full Screen - Closed-captioned
DVD Release Date: 08/28/2001
Original Release Date: 08/26/2001
Theatrical Release Date: 08/26/2001
Release Year: 2001
Run Time: 3hr 20min
Screens: Color,Full Screen
Number of Discs: 2
SwapaDVD Credits: 2
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 13
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English
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Movie Reviews

Quirky Romp
Dr. Christopher Coleman | HONG KONG | 10/19/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)

"The Human Face is a fascinating but scattershot approach to the topic. John Cleese's approach is sure to delight his fans and annoy his detractors. He manages in his own unique way (while ripping Elizabeth Hurley's face off and shooting fellow Monty Python alum Michael Palin not once, but twice! Pythons always were excessive!) to convey many interesting and pertinent facts concerning the human face and our reactions to it. Several sections were absolutely fascinating. The discussion on the evolution of the face claims that humankind's move toward an upright posture created an emphasis toward the eyes and visual stimuli and away from the nose and the sense of smell. Our profound reactions to facial expressivity are demonstrated in MRI brain scans that reveal activity deep in the amygdala as a reaction to faces showing fear although no conscious reaction was felt. Several curiosities reminiscent of "The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat" are explored, including a man who, following an automobile accident, wholeheartedly believed that his parents had been replaced by other people who looked exactly like them--he was able to recognize their physical appearance but had lost the emotional attachment that allowed him to recognize their relationship. Most heartening was a young woman with an exceptionally large jaw who had not only come to accept her looks but further to find her unique appearance a source of pride.The series closes with an examination of fame, and here it seems to go astray--so much so that Cleese resorts to acts of gratuitous violence against Palin. The focus shifted rather unsettlingly away from the face to the idea of fame. The linking premise, of course, is that in the modern day it is our faces which make us famous (or not), while in the past it was our actions, and before the days of photography and portraiture particular faces were unknown. This departure is not enough to spoil an otherwise excellent and wildly quirky series, though."
A great documentary with a nice touch of Python nonsense.
A. Gaston | San Antonio, TX USA | 09/02/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)

"John Cleese takes a different style in teaching us about the power of the human face. The documentary does contain tons of interesting facts about the human face and its role through history. What makes it stand out as a documentary is the twisted humor John Cleese, Michael Palin, and Liz Hurley (to name a few) inject into it. Subjects of Beauty, Expressions, Identity, etc are explained not only verbally, but with great skits and sketchs. Everything from skits with Michael Palin trying to get his face on a coin to Cleese and Hurley posing for the 18th Century French paparazzi painters, help make this as entertaining as it is educational.Great for the whole family."
A light documentary that was both humorous and informative
wneils | Wappingers Falls, NY United States | 08/28/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)

"I enjoyed this series and learned some new and amazing aspects of human physiology. I would especially recommend this` for young teenagers who might be caught up in the "am I beautiful / handsome" worries of adolescence. Interviews with individuals who have rare facial disorders, gave me a special appreciation of the "inner beauty" hidden in all of us."
It's as plain as the nose on your face
N. Skelton | Tennant Creek NT Australia | 06/01/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)

"John Cleese is not an academic but a comedian, so his approach to a serious subject has to be a little frivolous, but that is part of John's charm. None the less, Cleese is no fool. He approaches the subject from a number of directions, and comes up with quite a few surprises on why we recognize caricatures more easily than portraits, and just what is it that makes Elizabeth Hurley beautiful.
i enjoyed it on quite a few levels, for its intelligence, insight and humour."