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The Human Stain (2003)

6.3
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Ratings: 6.3/10 from 23,068 users   Metascore: 57/100
Reviews: 210 user | 120 critic | 39 from Metacritic.com

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

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Lizan Mitchell ...
Ernestine
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Phyllis Newman ...
Iris Silk
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Psychologist
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Young Iris
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Storyline

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 lakeshoreentertainment.com

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

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:

 »
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Details

Official Sites:

|

Country:

| |

Language:

Release Date:

29 October 2003 (France)  »

Also Known As:

Culpa Humana  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Budget:

$30,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$113,634 (Japan) (18 June 2004)

Gross:

$705,018 (Japan) (9 July 2004)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

To prepare for her role, Nicole Kidman visited women's shelters and talked to former victims of abuse for inspiration. See more »

Goofs

When Coleman and Faunia are talking in the kitchen, the cigarettes and the lighter on the counter (next to Kidman) keep changing position from scene to scene. See more »

Quotes

Ernestine: People are just getting dumber, but more opinionated.
See more »

Connections

Featured in Nicole Kidman: An American Cinematheque Tribute (2003) See more »

Soundtracks

Sleepy Lagoon
(1940)
Music by Eric Coates
Lyrics by Jack Lawrence (uncredited)
Performed by Tommy Dorsey
Courtesy of Soundies Inc.
By Arrangement with De Pugh Music
See more »

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User Reviews

 
A Near Perfect Film
20 August 2004 | by (Olathe, KS, USA) – See all my reviews

I honestly can not think of a single thing wrong with this movie. The actors are top rate actors that consistently turn in exceptional performances. This movie is no exception.

The plot is intriguing. The pasts of the main protagonists unfold, making their characters exceptionally deep. We get to see these characters evolve in interesting and compelling ways. There are shades-of-grey in these characters. We don't have the perfect hero. We have gentle people with kind hearts who make mistakes.

The direction is perfectly understated. There is a lot of nuance in the way the scenes are filmed and the way in which the actors are framed. Instead of the love scenes being the all-to-familiar humping and groaning, these scenes are filmed without graphic nudity. Note the way in which Anthony Hopkins places his hands on Nicole Kidman's back. It is so loving and tender and intimate.

Even the editing is right on. The length of the film, at 106 minutes, is the perfect length. There are no wasted scenes.

Some of the material is hard to watch. Note the posture and the facial expression on Anthony Hopkins in the kitchen scene in which Nicole Kidman is giving him a hard time. It is subtle and painful to watch.

If you are into light-hearted escapist film, this isn't for you. The subject matter is deep and difficult. I like these kinds of movies and this one is one of the best in class.

Kudos to all involved with this film.


135 of 172 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

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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
I have a question or two :) gorkee
Why did the girlfriend cried on the train? ionaradelima
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