Being Human

1993, PG-13, 122 min. Directed by Bill Forsyth. Starring Robin Williams, John Turturro, Anna Galiena, Vincent D'Onofrio, Hector Elizondo, Lorraine Bracco, Lindsay Crouse.

REVIEWED By Marc Savlov, Fri., May 13, 1994

A nifty idea that goes everywhere (and nowhere). Williams takes another turn for the dramatic (which, in the past, has almost always resulted in a simultaneous turn to mediocrity) in this unique, if ultimately unamazing film from director Forsyth (Local Hero). Here he plays a man named Hector -- actually five men named Hector, as the film is divided up into a quintet of shorts set in different periods of human history, from our dark, shaggy, cave-bound past, through the age of Rome, and eventually to the present. Woven together with a curious female voiceover that tells “the story of a story,” Forsyth and Williams presume to enlighten us all on the unchanging, absolute nature of humanity's eternal struggle for hope, love, and glory. A noble goal, to be sure, but Williams and company fall flat as the uninspired acting quickly settles into an unambitious rut and the overly similar storylines become cloyingly similar and dull. Despite the fact that Being Human boasts a marvelous cast, it all seems for naught. With the exception of Williams himself in the final, modern-day epilogue, concerning a harried real estate investor meeting his estranged children for the first time in years, almost all the characters are of the uninspired cookie-cutter variety. Even the normally incendiary Turturro, Roman Master to Williams' slave, appears to be on autopilot. Forsyth's film is a scattershot mess, crammed with good intentions that only occasionally break through the movie's overall sense of internal ennui. I thought anything would be better than Mrs. Doubtfire, but apparently I was wrong.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

More Being Human
Bloody Good and Scary Bloody
Bloody Good and Scary Bloody
Being Human season 2 airs tonight, hits DVD Sept. 21

Kimberley Jones, Sept. 18, 2010

More Bill Forsyth Films
Local Hero

Oct. 25, 2021

More by Marc Savlov
Moving stoner drama finds the downside of going legit

Oct. 15, 2021

Fantastic Fest Review: <i>Barbarians</i>
Fantastic Fest Review: Barbarians
English dinner party drama goes straight to darkest hell

Oct. 5, 2021


Being Human, Bill Forsyth, Robin Williams, John Turturro, Anna Galiena, Vincent D'Onofrio, Hector Elizondo, Lorraine Bracco, Lindsay Crouse

One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

Eric Goodman's Austin FC column, other soccer news

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle