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A young man is accused of rape by a young girl. He is a brilliant Stanford student, the son of a TV star and an essayist, she comes from a popular and Orthodox Jewish family. He assures us that there was a consensual sexual relationship, she had no choice. Justice will have to decide …

With “Human Things”, Yvan Attal adapts the novel by Karine Tuil, Goncourt des Lycéens in 2019. Unfortunately, the director signs a laborious and ambiguous film. During 2:18, we alternately follow the news item from the point of view of the accused and that of the complainant. And we wonder what the director wants to tell us … That this accusation is “word against word”? That there is not a single truth, but two truths: the same situation and two different feelings? That in matters of sexuality, there are “gray areas”? Or that the word of women has been too sacred by the #MeToo movement ?

The interpreted character by Pierre Arditi, the most detestable of this gallery, embodies this last position. A fickle TV presenter, who sleeps with his young blonde trainee, gets annoyed with “victimhood” speeches and asserts that “when a girl follows a boy into a room in the middle of the night, she knows what she is doing”.

More nuanced, the film does not deny the vulgar arrogance of the accused or the suffering of the complainant – even if the latter turns out to be less innocent, and more lying, than it appears. But it painfully dissects the positions of each party until it becomes a boring conference on consent. The sequences of pleadings turn out to be a torment… Up to an astonishing verdict, the inconsistency of which illustrates the ambiguity and the vanity of the film.

EDITOR’S RATING: 1/5

“Human Things”, French drama by Yvan Attal. With Ben Attal, Suzanne Jouannet, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Pierre Arditi… 2h18.

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