Only Human (15)

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The ViewLondon Review

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Review byMatthew Turner18/05/2005

Three out of Five stars
Running time: 89 mins

Enjoyable, fast-paced and nicely acted farce that manages to be both moving and laugh-out-loud funny while delivering a serious political message into the bargain.

Only Human is written and directed by husband and wife writing-directing team Teresa DePelegri and Dominic Harari. It’s clear that the pair are writing from their own experience and the result is an enjoyable, fast-paced farce that actually manages to take a serious look at an important issue amidst the ensuing pandemonium.

The Story

The film stars Marián Aguilera as Leni, a Spanish woman who is nervous about bringing her Palestinian boyfriend Rafi (Guillermo Toledo) home to Madrid in order to meet her crazy Jewish family.

She’s especially nervous because she hasn’t actually told them he’s Palestinian and they think he’s Israeli. Worse, Rafi finds it impossible to lie because his ears go red. Things go from bad to worse when Rafi accidentally drops some frozen soup out of the window and convinces himself that he’s killed Leni’s father…

The Characters

The characters are extremely well-drawn and the rapid-fire dialogue seems believable and naturalistic. The jokes come thick and fast and never feel forced. As a result, this is head and shoulders above other culture-clash comedies such as My Big Fat Greek Wedding or Mambo Italiano.

The film is a real ensemble piece – the acting is superb and each of the characters are genuinely funny. The other members of the Galinsky family include: the domineering mother (Norma Aleandro), who complains that there will be peace in Israel before her husband gives her an orgasm and Leni’s blind grandfather Dudu (Max Berliner), who reminisces fondly about the four Arabs he once killed and is given to playing knife games to prove he’s still “got it”.

There’s also Leni’s brother (Fernando Ramallo), who’s suddenly become a religious zealot; her trampy sister Tania (Maria Botto), who juggles being a single mother with belly-dancing and promiscuity; and her young niece (Alba Molinero), who’s convinced she’s going to give birth to twins. Not to mention her father (Mario Martin), who may or may not have been killed by a block of frozen soup…

The Comic Highlights

There are several comic highlights, including an excruciating bathroom encounter between Rafi and Dudu that will no doubt show up in a Ben Stiller movie within the year. Tania’s belly-dancing seduction of Rafi is also very amusing, although his reaction seems somewhat out of character.

The Conclusion

In short, Only Human is an extremely enjoyable comedy with likeable characters and several laugh-out loud moments. It’s also rather moving in places and its message of tolerance and understanding is an admirable one that somehow gets itself across without being over-stated. Plus, you have to love a film with the cojones to open against Star Wars. Recommended.

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Only Human (15)
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Content updated: 12/12/2017 17:59

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