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The Human Stain (2003)

R  |   |  Drama, Romance, Thriller  |  31 October 2003 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.3/10 from 24,546 users   Metascore: 57/100
Reviews: 215 user | 122 critic | 39 from

When a disgraced former college dean has a romance with a mysterious younger woman haunted by her dark, twisted past, he is forced to confront a shocking fact about his own life that he has kept secret for 50 years.



(novel), (screenplay)
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Lizan Mitchell ...
Phyllis Newman ...
Iris Silk
Young Iris


The Human Stain is the story of Coleman Silk (Hopkins), a classics professor with a terrible secret that is about to shatter his life in a small New England town. When his affair with a young troubled janitor (Kidman) is uncovered, the secret Silk had harbored for over fifty years from his wife, his children and colleague, writer Nathan Zuckerman, fast explodes in a conflagration of devastating consequences. It is Zuckerman who stumbles upon Silk's secret and sets out to reconstruct the unknown biography of this eminent, upright man, esteemed as an educator for nearly all his life, and to understand how this ingeniously contrived life came unraveled. Written by

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


How far would you go to escape the past?

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language and sexuality/nudity | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:



| |


Release Date:

31 October 2003 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Cloveski madez  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$30,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$839,170 (France) (31 October 2003)


$705,018 (Japan) (9 July 2004)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The racist white man on the train who berates the porter is played by Allison Davis, a Chicago attorney who is black. See more »


When Steena is dancing for the young Silk, her panties change position between shots. See more »


Psychologist: Did you ever kill anyone when you were in Vietnam, Mr. Farley?
Lester Farley: Did I kill anyone?
Psychologist: Um hmm.
Lester Farley: Isn't that what I was supposed to do when I went to fuckin' Vietnam, fuckin' kill gooks? They said everything goes, so everything went.
See more »


References The Manchurian Candidate (1962) See more »


Day Dream
Written by Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn
Performed by Marian McPartland
Courtesy of Concord Records, Inc.
See more »

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User Reviews

I don't see whats so bad
19 February 2005 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

There has been a lot of bad press about this movie, and, to a point, I don't understand why. Of course, I think that both Hopkins and Kidman were miscast in their respective roles, but at least Kidman trounced her miscasting and turned in a very strong, artistically nuanced performance.

This movie, to me anyways, seemed to be a bit theatrical. The camera shots are often distant, not allowing us to see the actors close up. The script is very loose, allowing for the actors to take the roles and make them their own. Also, most of the actors give very broad, exaggerated ( but not too much) performances. I consider this to be good. We live in an age when theatre is losing its popularity and the director of this film seems to have found a way to bring theatre into cinema.

There are some slight flaws in the movie. Hopkins speaks with a Weslh accent for no apparent reason. The ending is a tad bit drawn out, not terribly so.

Above all though, I consider this film to be a work of art. It certainly made me think about my own life; it's very powerful.

54 of 76 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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How can the professor be white while his 2 parents are black? Kyrios_Chalakatevakis
A film about race and class, dominated by rich white actors SaDaTay
Critics should be eating Crow SidneySassy
Zuckerman's past dbogosian-1
Why did the girlfriend cried on the train? ionaradelima
Bizarre euronick61
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