“Humane” Marks Caitlin Cronenberg’s Directorial Debut

Synopsis: In the wake of an environmental collapse that is forcing humanity to shed 20% of its population, a family dinner erupts into chaos when a father’s plan to enlist in the government’s new euthanasia program goes horribly awry.
Director: Caitlin Cronenberg
Stars: Jay Baruchel, Emily Hampshire, Peter Gallagher

One has to seriously wonder what happened in the Cronenberg household to generate such creative minds.

The patriarch David is a famed filmmaker from Toronto who has been making films since the 1970s and even before that if you count his short films. His son Brandon has given us three very unique films, the most recent being Infinity Pool, which was well-received by critics.

We are now being introduced to Caitlin Cronenberg, a daughter of David renowned for her photography, who recently made her debut in the director’s chair. Her new film Humane shows that, like her father and brother, the trend of out-of-the-box filmmaking is a pattern with this family.

In the film, we are introduced to the fact that the Earth is dealing with an ecological collapse that has forced world leaders to take measures to reduce the population—extreme measures. The population must be reduced by 20 percent, which means people have to volunteer in the euthanasia program.

Who would volunteer for such a thing? Charles York (Peter Gallagher), that’s who. The patriarch of a privileged family has his four children over for dinner to inform them he and his wife have volunteered for this.

His children include Jared (Jay Baruchel), Rachel (Emily Hampshire), Noah (Sebastien Chacon), and Ashley (Alanna Bale). Family relations are strained, and tensions run high at dinner even before Charles breaks his news.

The audience bears witness as this family is left to make an impossible decision.

There have been many ‘end-of-the-world’ projects before, including The Walking Dead,  The Last of Us and more subtle films, such as last year’s Leave the World Behind.

The common denominator in all these films is that people turn on each other for survival, which is precisely what happens at the York dinner table.

When you sign up to watch a film by a director with the last name Cronenberg, you know you are getting something unique.

The casting in this movie is fantastic; Jay Baruchel and Emily Hampshire are both solid and don’t disappoint, and Cronenberg deserves credit for casting recognizable Canadian actors.

Furthermore, her photographic background was an asset; she has a keen eye for how the film should be shot. There is nothing about this film that screams ‘first-time filmmaker’.

The screenplay by Michael Sparaga is brought to life with a strong ensemble that makes this film an enjoyable watch.

The Cronenbergs are a very talented family that make excellent films. Here’s hoping Caitlin will make more.

Grade: B


Watch Keith’s interview with Caitlin Cronenberg:

Watch the movie trailer: