Love & Human Remains (1993) Poster

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A strangely endearing comedy about sex and serial killers
jimmyg9 March 1999
This is a lovely film. I always tell my friends that this is a gentle sex farce. It's not. I keep on forgetting that Love and Human Remains is a brooding, dark movie, full of smart lines, a great looking cast and a lot of intriguing ideas. There's also one of the more spurious serial killer plots of all time. Frankly, there's really only one suspect, and the whole serial-killing as metaphor for moral despair/AIDS is both trite and already dated. So frankly, forget the serial killer aspect of the plot. Watch this film instead for the great way it develops characters - the endearingly heartless gay waiter who's so bored he prefers waiting tables to acting. and the book reviewer who doesn't like leaving her room. There are some lovely scenes, and some cracking lines of quotable dialogue ("Hi Honey, I'm homo!") that make the film a lot more memorable and endearing than it appears. It does Canada no favours though.
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Unique Film Transcends "Gay" or "Straight"
Bishonen28 September 1999
Yes, this film has many gay characters. It also has straight characters, characters who are not sure about their sexuality, people who are searching for some truth about their existence.

This is not a film about sexual orientation. It's about loneliness and the difficulty human beings often experience in connecting to one another. Filmically, Denys Arcand cleverly balances the various dimensions of the relationships and the contrasting, constantly shifting relationships. The serial killer element is a bit less successful (it feels more like a way to wrap up various plot points and, unlike the rest of the film, is thematically heavy-handed).

Thomas Gibson centers and grounds the film; it's a quiet performance but behind the handsome, arrogant exterior he slowly reveals a terrified soul afraid of showing or accepting love from those around him. The supporting cast is strong, especially Mia Kirshner as Gibson's friend, a dom-for-hire with precognitive powers. Her role is more metaphor than a literal conceit---strangely innocent and depraved at the same time, she represents the light and dark of the characters' sexual consciousness.

The film's involving and often surprises in its character development. The effect is somewhat like Robert Altman directing a David Mamet script---the dialogue doesn't shrink from some searing observations aside from a few contrived moments in the beginning. Often, in our search for love and a conventional "relationship", we ignore the love that already exists around us---in our friends, family, those who are able to see us as we are. Arcand and the writer, Brad Fraser, make some canny observations on the different ways human beings try to escape and deny their loneliness and how that denial returns to haunt us in so many unexpected ways.

This film is a rewarding experience. It may not be for bigots who can't get past the sexual orientation of some of the characters to see the greater, transcendental message of hope and redemption. Loneliness is a universal experience. A film like this, that dares to explore the darker side of our lives with a clever and perceptive eye, deserves applause and an open-minded approach.
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npollotta15 February 2000
Quirky, brilliant, twisted, dark, inventive, unnerving. This is a wonderful film, extremely well acted and smoothly directed. Moody and atmospheric, death stalks this mixed assortment of oddball lovers, both inside and out. Yet it is not a bleak tale of destruction, but a story of redemption, survival, and finally love. A great job by everybody involved. Top marks!
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One of my all-time favourite films.
saveespy2 October 2000
This is a film that I always find myself coming back to every so often. Still, almost a decade since I first saw it, "Love and Human Remains" still has so much to say about men, women, relationships, sexuality and most compellingly in the film, how we as people relate to one another. Perfomances are absolutely incredible and totally convincing. Why I love this film so much is that it shows that, irrespective of one's own sexual orintation, we as people very much share the same experiences and that people shouldn't create 'walls' based on sexuality. We all experience this life. See this film.
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Brilliant! Unexpected twists and interesting relationships.
primus2128 September 1999
Once again, I am amazed that Thomas Gibson did not come to the head of the pack earlier in his career. In this film, Gibson once again demonstrates his ability to grasp a character regardless of sexuality, social status or nationality. Gibson plays a very convincing gay male of the late 20th Century. Tender yet not effeminate, afraid of the basic tenets of love, Gibson's character touches a variety of emotions. Also worthy of praise is Cameron Bancroft's performance. His need to be the heterosexual conqueror as opposed to his best friend's "homosexual conquests" provides dynamics for the relationship that are in many ways unexpected. Bancroft and Gibson's chemistry is apparent from the first scene they appear in together. There are many "panels" in this quilt. From gay relationships to straight relationships; from heterosexual relationships to the exploration of lesbian love; this film travels across the broad spectrum of sexuality while having the story of a serial killer at its core. My only regret is that it took 6 years since its release before I discovered this movie! I look forward to seeing it again and highly recommend it to any fan of Bancroft, Gibson or Director Denys Arcand.
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Thought Provoking and Offbeat Drama
Mitch-3818 February 2001
Extremely good cinematic story of gay, embittered former teen star, now waiting tables. The sexual ambiguities are explored here realistically, and with an actual human face. This, and throw in a serial killer on the loose, and you have LOVE AND THE HUMAN REMAINS. A well portrayed drama, a strange sense of humor and a mystery. The screenplay is fluid and believable. The performances are well above average, and the twists in the story are sharp.

This certainly isn't everyone's ideal notion of a movie, but for those who appreciate something different and slickly written, it's very much worthy of your time. Highly recommended.
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I didn't find this to be a comedy, more a tragedy
Sic Coyote11 February 2000
I bought this film from my local blockbuster for 99p an it's been sitting in my video bookcase for at least a year now. Then tonight I decided to see it, the film was quite different to what I had expected and I didn't find any humour in it all I saw was that it was a bleak look at people dealing with love relationships and sexual orientation and I didn't really see the psycho killer plot really having a point except to add tension to the end of the film. I felt that the person playing the lesbian woman did a great job. I was following her emotions and what happened around her. Some people would probably have seen some of the stuff that she does as funny but I could really put myself in her place, loving someone but them rejecting you at every turn no matter how hard you try. I thought it was a very moving film and dealt with all the different sexualities well. I was expecting something like Bound & Gagged : A love story, but this is a very different film. Not for bigots.
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Gay cinema with a serial killer
SnoopyStyle13 June 2014
There is a serial killer loose in the city killing young women. Various young urbanites exist in this world looking for connections. David McMillan (Thomas Gibson) is a gay waiter tired of acting. His roommate Candy (Ruth Marshall) is a book reviewer who had a fling with him while he was still a 'trainee fag'. David has several friends. Benita (Mia Kirshner) is a dominatrix with psychic powers. Bernie is a creepy civil servant. Kane is a childlike busboy who drives a Porsche. Candy wonders if she should try lesbianism, and she gets hit on by an eager school teacher Jerri (Joanne Vannicola) at the gym. Then again she get hit on by bartender Robert (Rick Roberts).

Based on a play, this Denys Arcand movie has an interesting cast of characters each looking for love. There are explicit sexual subject matters, drugs, and the dark ugliness of the urban life. And always in the background, there is the mystery of the serial killer. It's a great mix of mundane, obscene, desperation, the ugly, and the dark. There are good performances from good actors.
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A movie you can watch over and over again.
lash20 May 1999
I first watched this movie in Istanbul Film Festival back in 1994. It was so good I took couple of friends with me and went to see it again the same week. The characters are very well played and the humor here and there is amazing. It sure is a very powerful gay movie. Some scenes make you feel you're watching an episode of Friends with much more sophisticated lines. I guess I'll put it in my VCR and watch it again tonight...
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Like watching nuclear fission
yokittygirl28 February 2010
There is, as many reviews have observed, a strong dark streak to this movie. The director it most recalls to me is John Landis (yeah, go ahead and howl about what a peasant I am). Arcand has the gift of exploring frivolous things in a bleak, gray kind of way, then turning round and exploring the horrors of life with a lighthearted touch.

The cast is, without exception, above average. Thomas Gibson, as David, is outstanding as the moody and self-deceptive center around whom the rest of the characters revolve. He talks a good nihilist, but his actions reflect more love in his character than he is willing to acknowledge. Gibson was already a strong and subtle actor in 1993. It was difficult to look at him and see Greg Montgomery, let alone Agent Hotchner of Criminal Minds.

Perhaps not the best scene, but the one I enjoy most, my "rewind scene," is the section where Candy is expecting a visitor, and one uninvited person after another shows up at the door. As Candy's interpersonal environment swings further and further out of control, David just grows bouncier, perkier, and more enthusiastic, like a gaunt Gen-X "Tigger."
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Ahead of it's time
phoenixfyrs27 May 2012
I first watched this movie in a hotel room with my then boyfriend. I looked all over to own a copy of it, and only found it at 1 BB video store in the early 2000s. So I rented it and told them I lost it. I love this movie. I'd really seen nothing like it before. Most of the gay cinema I'd seen was very trite, pretty boys, lots of nudity, bad acting and little plot. The plot of this movie happens while a serial killer is killing off random women. Usually the serial killer would walk into frame and I would say "that's him" or "that's her" but it didn't even occur to me. It isn't that the mystery is so intricate it's that the plot is going off in so many directions that are interesting while also being slightly distracting. It follows a main character but also his friends, who I actually cared about. They aren't 2 dimensional. There is even a young love interest, a 16 y/o boy who's the main characters biggest fan ever, I won't tell you if they get together or not but the thing is, you really don't care. That's how good the movie is. Usually when watching gay cinema everyone who watches including me wants the main character to find love. I didn't care if he did. He had an interesting journey and took me with him and that was satisfying enough.
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Just Great!!!
Brandy-287 July 1999
It started out pretty dull. But it got better and better. I really didn't recognize Thomas Gibson until there was a close up. What do you know Greg from Dharma & Gregg. He was very good in this movie. I thought Matthew Ferguson was very beautiful with his long hair, puppydog eyes, and very, very cute butt (there was a nice long shot of his butt at his house). Poor Matthew, he is so in love with Thomas, it's almost sickening. But all in all, I guessed who the killer was in the first fifteen minutes. Not that it was easy, it's just that I have a keen eye for those types of movies. But like I said, all in all, a very good storyline, with real life people, you can really care about. Life, that's what I see in this movie. A must see!!!!!!
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One stupid flick.
=G=20 May 2002
"Love and Human Remains" is one of those obviously scripted, obviously acted, obviously staged flicks which is so obvious that the escape velocity from its contrivances and fabrication is beyond me. Not worth explaining, this amateurish flick tries to cram every clever line, every misanthropic overtone, every peculiar sexual predilection into one film with an absence of concern for making the pieces fit. In short, sensationalistic crap without the sensation...which pretty much just leaves crap.
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Absolute blunder from Canadian maverick.
FilmCriticLalitRao3 August 2007
Love and human remains directed by Denys Arcand is an abysmally pathetic film as it is completely different from the kind of films he has been making all through his career.Making a different film is not an objectionable matter,what is troublesome is the fact that if a film from a master is complete out of tune then it is a really bad event. The film begins on a good note as there is some suspense created. However as the film progresses what is shown is just a futile attempt at creating something meaningful as Arcand shows us half a dozen oddball,whimsical characters whose lives are intertwined with each other.Homosexuality and Lesbianism are not of any consequences here. What is even more bothersome is the feeling of guilt related to the characters who are rather in a fix regarding their feelings towards each other and sexuality.Such a film would be of interest to some who wants to see a different Denys Arcand film.All in all,there would surely not be many takers for this film.
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movie dragged, but Ruth Marshall was GREAT!
akshunj6 July 2005
Watched this flick on Saturday afternoon cable. Man, did it drag. I got the metaphors, symbolism, and all that stuff. No, I didn't care one way or another about the sexuality of the characters. But, the pacing of the story and the scripting almost put me to sleep.

That is..... until Ruth Marshall got naked. If you're a breast-man who is not homo-phobic, you may want to rent it. Ruth has a lesbian sex scene that's pretty hot, and then a hetero sex scene that is a notch higher than most standard movie fare. Her jiggly D-cups made the film worth the watch.

--The Mighty Avatar
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A little off the mark
ccstronger22 January 2001
This movie had two great, compelling characters in Candy and David, but it fell flat on its face looking for a plot. The serial killer thing has been explored for ages, and I would have liked to see this movie take another route. Oh well, it's still better than Scream.
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Matthew Ferguson's "Kane" is seriously tweaked
Grand6 September 1999
This was the film that started that the cinematic love affair

between the Jaundiced Eye crew and Matthew Ferguson. His

ability to portray RELATIVELY normal characters like Birkoff in

"La Femme Nikita" is counter-balanced by his equally deft

handling of weirdos like "Kane." One wishes that he would only

be given more roles, bigger roles, and other, even more complex

roles to assay to push the limits of his abilities. There were

four or five memorable scenes in this film, and Matthew Ferguson

stole two of them from far more experienced actors. This film

itself is good, and it is worth watching on its own merits, but

Ferguson makes it a little extra special. His *ouevre* may

eventually show what the career of Anthony Perkins MIGHT have

been like if he hadn't been typecast as "Norman Bates" so long

ago. "Kane" isn't quite as whacked-out as Norman, and far fewer

people saw "Love and Human Remains than saw "Psycho," so we can

hope that Ferguson will show us some hint of what Perkins MIGHT

have been able to accomplish, had he been allowed to do so. . . .
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