Review by Sean Boelman
From director Joshua Leonard (star of The Blair Witch Project) and written by and starring himself and Jess Weixler (Teeth), Fully Realized Humans is one of the funniest quarter-life crisis movies ever. Both insightful and riotous, this is a film not to miss when it gets to make its way to audiences.
The movie follows two soon-to-be parents as they set out to discover themselves and try new things in the hopes of becoming “fully realized humans” before their child is born. Although this “bucket list” storyline isn’t anything brand new, Leonard and Weixler’s script is both grounded and edgy enough to feel like a needed and refreshing addition to the genre.
Perhaps the most interesting thing about the film is that it was shot while Weixler was eight months pregnant with her first child, and as a result, it seems to reflect some of the anxieties she was facing about becoming a parent. Granted, there is some exaggeration in there for the sake of comedy, but it all comes from a place in the heart.
Leonard and Weixler have very good chemistry together and both are completely believable in their roles. Interestingly enough, both actors are arguably best-known for their work in the horror genre, so it is nice (and impressive) to see them doing something less serious. Both have impeccable comedic timing and a strong emotional range.
Part of what makes the movie work so well is that the audience is immediately able to buy into the characters and their relationship. The second act very easily could have felt overdone, but instead is the perfect balance of ridiculousness and heartfelt emotion because the first act does such a good job of dialing the viewer into the characters’ apprehensions.
If the film does make one mistake, it is that it ultimately abandons its earnest wackiness for something a little more somber. What starts as a hilarious journey of a couple going wild in their last days before settling into the potential mundanity of domesticity turns into an exploration of trauma. While this is a natural conclusion to the arc, the short runtime prevents this portion of the story from feeling fully developed.
On a technical level, Leonard’s movie is definitely very lo-fi, but it works. Sequences animated crudely with stick figures give the film that extra indie feel that is so necessary for its authenticity. The script and performances are simply so strong that any flaws in the execution are negligible in the greater scheme of things.
Fully Realized Humans is a humbly amazing indie comedy that just begs to be discovered. It is Leonard and Weixler’s honest yet hilarious storytelling that makes this one of the best movies to come out of this year’s festival circuit.
Fully Realized Humans is set to debut at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival. It is currently seeking distribution.